Q. Sometimes I find it hard to put aside time to meditate. Is it okay to meditate on a train while commuting to and from work? It is hard to keep a correct posture on those seats.
A. Any time and any place can be a good time and a good place for Zen meditation even though you can’t put aside time for it. Your commuting time and commuting train are a good example. Your idea appears to come from your misunderstanding of Zen meditation. Zen practice is not to train your physical body but to concentrate your attention to your question. The essence of Zen meditation is not to sit upright but to keep questioning.
You are told to sit upright in order to focus on your question, not for the sake of sitting itself. It is true that sitting upright on the floor without leaning against anything is the most recommended, but this is not a fixed rule. There is no fixed correct posture for Zen practice. Any posture; sitting upright on the floor or in a sofa or on a chair, sitting leaning against something or not, is okay if you can focus on your question. I’d like to invite you to lean against something in order to reduce the burden your spine takes if you are aged or have some problem with your back because sitting upright is the most burdening posture to our backbone.
The key point of Zen practice is not whether you can keep a good posture or not, but whether you can keep your question or not. However good your posture is, sitting itself is not Zen practice if you don’t keep your question. If you ask yourself what makes your body walk while taking a walk, then it is walking meditation. Questioning what makes you have tea during tea time is tea meditation. So, you always have time and place for practising Zen meditation. Don’t say that you have no time for Zen practice.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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