Someone asked the teacher Zhaozhou, “What is meditation?”
Zhaozhou replied, “It’s not meditation.”
The student was puzzled. “Why is it not meditation?”
“It’s alive! It’s alive!”
Zen isn’t about improving yourself or becoming kinder or calmer or more productive at work, although these side effects may occur. Zen is not a religion and it offers nothing to believe in. It’s not about bullying yourself into being who you think you ought to be, but rather the vibrant process of discovering and appreciating who you already are.
It’s Alive! is not your granddaddy’s Zen. You won’t find many of the traditional Japanese Buddhist forms here and there are no complicated rituals to learn. What you will find is a community that values awakening and Zen practice as it shows up in your life—yes!, the life you have right now.
We are a branch of Pacific Zen Institute, and as such our primary modes of practice are meditation, koans, and conversation. Meditation offers a vehicle for deeply noticing our lives and allowing the mind to come to rest. Koans are stories that erode our ideas about how things are. They often get the reputation of being difficult or scary, but really koans just invite us to be friends with the whole of life. You won’t find anything in a koan that isn’t already in your own heart. Conversation is itself a practice and a way of entering deeper into the mystery of who we are. Enlightenment is a team sport.
We currently offer individual work with a teacher, a weekly meditation and discussion group, and periodic retreats. We hope to offer additional programs soon.
If you’re interested in reading more about how koans might show up in your life, check out our blog.
You can also follow us on Facebook.
It’s Alive! values the inherent worth and dignity of all creatures and is dedicated to providing a safe space for anyone to explore the possibility of freedom in their own lives. We welcome anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, politics, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, size, shape, ability, socioeconomic status, past experience, and any other descriptors you can think of.