We're all beginners here

In two weeks I'll be teaching a class. The subject? Beginning the Path of Zen. A subject very near and dear to my heart.

I am both terrified and exhilarated. But I love beginners. And I love teaching meditation.

I have come to feel that nothing is more important than understanding our own minds and knowing who we really are. And yet, it is so rarely talked about - taboo even. Why is that?

In the first year I started practicing, my stomach flip-flopped every time I got in the car to drive to the Zen Center. I could barely face myself. I couldn't sit still without fear creeping up my spine. The sound of the bell to end meditation petrified me. I hated being a beginner. I wanted to know everything and I wanted to know how to do everything exactly right all the time, so that I wouldn't stick out. I was convinced that terrible things lay in store for me the moment I messed up.

But a surprising thing happened... Nothing. Nothing happened. No one criticized me. No one yelled at me. No one called me out and said, HEY YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. Nope. Never. Whenever I did make a mistake, it was rarely acknowledged and if it was, it was usually met with a soft glance or a helpful word or two.

Which really freaked me out. But in a good way. I softened. I started to relax. And I started paying attention.

I think that's at the heart of what I want to teach in this class - how to begin paying attention.

It's a lot more difficult than I ever imagined...

Curious about Zen? Ask me a question.

(Currently loving How the Day Sounds by Greg Laswell. Plus, I can't resist a man in a nice hat.)