I have been meditating for many years. Still, I have always found it difficult to establish a daily practice. My busyness got in the way of my stillness.
The shelter-at-home regulation resulting from the coronavirus pandemic was the catalyst for a new kind of sitting group...virtual! White Heron Sangha kicked it off with a "Sit Poem Chat" gathering via Zoom at the very beginning of our isolation. It started as a way to maintain our practice and to connect with each other. It was thought that the group would probably be temporary, just until we could meet again in person. As the days have become weeks and then months, we are still meeting and sitting together daily online.
"Sit Poem Chat" has been a stabilizing force in the midst of the chaos in our present world. We have been meeting each morning at 8:00AM on Zoom for a 30-minute silent meditation. The host would read a poem or an inspirational excerpt from a book that he or she selects. Then we are open for 10 to 15 minutes of conversation, and end around 8:45. The setting has an aura of intimacy as we see each other's faces and homes. If you are shy you can join without video and/or mute yourself. Sometimes a beloved cat or dog wanders into the picture. We have discussed impermanence and hope and kindness and fear and opportunities for living the dharma afforded by our new reality.
Volunteers rotate as host and their personalities shine through the readings chosen. Anyone is welcome to join us. There have been long term members of White Heron Sangha as well as visitors from afar who found us on the internet, usually through connections with one of our members. It has been an outreach to all who want to share in 45 minutes or so of peace and friendship each day.
Some of us would like this tradition to continue indefinitely, and have decided to make some minor changes in the interest of sustainability. First, we are expanding the pool of participants who take turns hosting, in order to spread out the responsibility. We are also loosening the format to relieve the host of the expectation that each day needs a fresh, new, brilliant or greatly inspired reading. The reading will be optional, and anything the host feels moved to present will be graciously accepted. Also to that end, we are changing the name to simply “Morning Sit.”
If you would like to try it, Morning Sit is listed on the home page of our website, whiteheronsangha.org. Just click the link and when it opens, scroll down to Join on Zoom.
It's a wonderful way to start the day!
Next article - Summer 2020