Issue 26;


Sitting alone together, everyday.

By Angyu Devin Ashwood

Dear Friends,

Many of us sit zazen on a regular basis, many sit irregularly and many of us hardly sit at all when not on retreats.  One challenge that faces us all, particularly when we are not on a retreat with others is sustaining the energy, commitment and intensity of our practice.  When we are sitting with others, practice can seem to flow so naturally, that we hardly even appreciate it.  When we find ourselves back at home with multiple commitments to juggle, demands on our time and energy coming from all directions and the noise and bustle of modern life pulling us this way and that, it can seem difficult to remember and appreciate the simplicity of life that we may have glimpsed on retreat.
One opportunity we can embrace is to make commitments, to ourselves, to our friends or teachers, to take time out to sit in Zazen with each other on a regular basis.  When we are sitting alone in our homes, sometimes we have to know others are sitting at the same time as us to appreciate their support and that we are not actually doing this all on our own at all.
Even two people can make a mutually suitable arrangement to sit at the same time each day and encourage this realisation of interdependence. Checking in with each other from time to time to offer encouragement or share difficulties can deepen this realisation and the friendship that only matures with this kind of effort.
Modern technology has offered us new ways to support each other and show kindness.  Email, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and a host of other social networking web services and phone apps have expanded the ways we can reach out to each other and verify our connection.  One example of this which I enjoy is the "Insight Timer" phone app, available for Android and iPhones, it is one of the nicest meditation timer applications I have found.  It has a social networking function that helps you to connect with other meditators in your area or sangha and I feel real warmth when I sit for zazen, open my app to time the session and it tells me that my dear friends are sitting with me.  
If you would like to share this experience, you can download the app and join the "Sitting Mountains" group, it should then allow you to see when other in your sangha are sitting with you. I have made a commitment to sit at (or as close to as possible) 7am each morning and I almost always use the Insight Timer programme to ring a bell at the end of the session.  You are most welcome to be a good friend and expand our circle of virtual sitters who are actually sitting together each day at this or some other time that suits you and those you link up with.  

in friendship

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