"Common ground is really important. The more I think about this, the more I realize that my beef is not with reading passages, but with the difficulty of finding common ground when everyone has really different experiences, beliefs, influences, etc. Actually, what bugs me is not those differences, but the fact that we never talk about them! I have no idea what our common ground really is. YUZ has been going for almost 4 months now and we haven't really opened up to each other in terms of our beliefs, values, feelings, etc. There are just occasional glimpses. I can tell people want to express themselves more, and I want to see more of that, but there's such a heavy emphasis on ideas that we don't get very personal. Most of what I know about anyone in the group is how they react to text. So yeah, I guess I do have a beef with the passages, because they turn our focus away from each other and into our heads. When it comes down to it, we can always read at home, but it's very rare to find a group like ours, and I feel like there are more direct ways to learn from each other".My answer would be that zazen was always intended to be our common ground, that it is rare enough to be able to sit with people, that the act of doing that, regularly, albeit with a somewhat shifting cast, will inevitably show each of us to each other. At the very least it should foster a field of openness which will inform whatever conversation we have afterwards. It is probably true that in a varying group, some people will not want to be fully open, though the small group discussions hopefully make that easier. In my contributions to the meetings and the small groups, I often find myself suggesting that people find an answer in their hearts more than their heads, and that they use the texts as a way to clarify feelings more than to express ideas. We could certainly learn from each other by doing other things - it was true when a bunch of us played games in the park, and the times some of us have been out for a drink after meetings, and it could also be true if we did an hour of kitchen practice together, or spent an evening cleaning the conference center instead of talking. Nevertheless, what I value most in the group, as I have expressed here on several occasions, is that it gives me a forum to meet people open-hearted and whole-heartedly, and my wish that everyone in the group is able to cultivate that quality in themselves through the imperfect processes of our meeting together.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I got word that there were some feelings being expressed in the Young Urban Zen Facebook Group, and since I am not on Facebook, I cannot reply within that space, and as it is not an open-view group I can't link you all to it either. Here is one comment from one of our regulars, whose permission I have to re-post: