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miami meditation center
March 2017

100% PERFECT

It is a spectacular Florida winter morning. I am at the beach with a friend sitting on a wooden bench under the shade of a palm. We are quietly enjoying the natural panorama of sand, sea and sky. The temperature is perfect. The cloudless blue sky is perfect. The sun is sparkling on the ocean making it appear to be coated with diamonds. We sit filled with joy, just feeling the cool breeze and listening to the soft sound of the surf. A Tri-Colored Heron completes our waterfront sangha.

We are soaking up sunshine and warmth like sponges, aware that in some places winter days tend to be gray and cold.

But here, this shining morning, the whole scene is perfect.

Well, almost perfect.

tri colored heron
Tri-Colored | Heron Shark Valley, FL | photo by Alex Schimel

Suddenly, I become aware of a nearby mechanical sound. It is a park ranger working with a leaf blower. He is clearing the pathway leading to the lighthouse, of leaves that have fallen during the past 24 hours. It is an important job and surely the pathway needs to be tidy. But why now? Why spoil the perfect morning?

I approach the ranger with a smile and inquire why he is not using a rake instead of a noisy af blower? "Well, I have a large amount of work and the blower is faster." He explains, clearly understanding the issue behind my question. A large seagrape leaf swirls to the ground and I immediately sympathize with the impossibility of his chore. "It must be a never ending job."

"I don't mind." He replies with a good-natured-shrug.

But is it the noise that is spoiling my enjoyment? Or is the real problem my resistance to the noise?

Loud noises attract our attention. That is just the way our brain and nervous system operates. But immediately following the nose likes/dislikes can arise. Its when we attach the label "dislike" that resistance appears which leads to a feeling that there is a problem. It is our resistance that's the source of dissatisfaction.

Thru meditation practice we learn to focus our attention. We often use breath awareness but the focus can be on any sensation arising from present experience.

If we are not alert with our likes/dislikes and we attach a single dislike then even 99% perfect can end up feeling like a big dissatisfaction.

If I can listen to the sound of the leaf blower blower without judgment, without resistance then I am free to enjoy the moment. I still hear the blower along with all the other sounds but there is no contamination. The leaf blower sound is still there. I do not make an effort to block it out or push it away. I still enjoy the spectacular morning and it is still 100% perfect. Including the leaf blower.

VISITING AN OLD MISSION WITH MY TEACHER Sandy Gentei Stewart

I was raised a Catholic and schooled by Sacred Heart sisters and Jesuit fathers and brothers. As a teen, I became disillusioned with the church: there seemed to be little of Jesus' message in the orthodoxy. I felt it unconscionable for the church to be so rich while there were innumerable poor and sick persons in the world.

About 10 years after abandoning the church, I found Zen Master Joshu Sasaki Roshi and was relieved to discover that his center was located in a vacated dentist's office. Nothing fancy at all. For that and other reasons, I judged Zen to be much superior to Catholicism.

In my early years of practicing with him, we often drove around looking at hot springs properties for a new Zen center.

One day, as we passed an old Catholic mission, he asked to stop. He wanted to see what it was like. We entered the old church. On the wall, to the right of the door, there was a seashell shaped dish filled with water. He asked, "What's that?"
"Holy water."
"What do you do with it?"
I dipped my right fingers in and made the sign of the cross on my body. He did the same and asked, "Then what do you do?"
He followed me down the aisle. I stopped at a pew, genuflected, and knelt on the pull-down knee rest. He did the same.
"Now what do you do?"
Feeling a little uneasy, I suggested, "We could pray."
For a couple of minutes, we prayed. I suspect I focused on my koan, "How do I manifest my Buddha nature when I am driving a car?"
After a few of minutes we arose, genuflected and exited the church, crossing ourselves with the holy water on the way out.

He never said a word about that visit. My conclusion: you can practice Zen anywhere, including by performing Catholic rituals. It is a great relief to know that there need be no conflict among the great variety of religious/spiritual practices! We all go to paradise together.

How?

APRIL SCHEDULE:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10:00 AM. (mindful awareness)
Tuesday and Thursday 7:00 AM. (chanting and zen meditation)
Monday thru Friday 8:00 PM. (mindful awareness)

Miami Meditation Center class schedule

(*April 12th Tropic Topics talk at the Key Biscayne Community Center. Free.)

Sessions are by donation. Suggested $10 per class or $50 per month.
Private sessions by appointment.

Zen Day on Saturday April 22nd from 10:00 to 4:00. Includes: chanting, meditation, slow walking, and inspirational talk. Bring a bag lunch. Donation $20. RSVP 786.218.6332.


NEWS:

Bill will speak on the benefits of meditation at the Key Biscayne Community Center on April 12th from 7:30-8:30 PM. The Topic Tropics series is organized by Active Seniors on the Key and includes light refreshments. Free. For more information click here Tropic Talks Schedule

The KBRotary Spring Festival will be April 8th at the Village Green from 10:00 AM until 7:00 PM. MMC will have a "meditation booth" as part of our effort to be more involved with our local community. There will many participants including: community groups, local artists, music and dance groups, and food trucks. We are requesting volunteers to help Bill at the booth for 2 hour time slots starting from 10:00 AM until 7:00 PM. If you would like to volunteer to help with our booth please contact the center to select a time. Thank you.

Our new website is up! Its the best source for the latest news and class schedules. www.MiamiMeditationCenter.org

The Dharma House in Coconut Grove has closed but the International Zen Institute of Florida is still operating and the new location will open in May. The current schedule is listed at IZIF.org or call Juan Felisgrau 786.897.4172

Sandy Gentei Stewart will lead a 5-day retreat at Kings Canyon National Park from July 12-16. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains due east of Fresno, CA the park is known for its giant Sequoia trees and rustic beauty.

INTRODUCING OUR ADVISORS

susan amick

Susan Amick moved to Key Biscayne in 1991 from New York City where she studied dance at the Martha Graham Center and worked in commercial design. Susan began learning tai chi twenty years ago and is a certified Tai Chi instructor. Over the past fifteen years she has applied her knowledge of design and its energetic aspects through her passion as a certified Feng Shui Consultant and Life Coach. Susan enjoys immersing herself in the beauty of Nature that is readily available on Key Biscayne while walking, cycling and swimming in the ocean.

MEMBER'S GALLERY Submit your photos, images of original art work, prose, poetry. To: info@MiamiMediationCenter.org

A whisper enveloped in silence
This morning of Beauty
Expanding Extending
The light
Sea waves dance gently
In tenderness
Dawn sings in soft rhythms
Delight
by Patricia Domit

eucalyptus tree bark
Eucalyptus Tree Bark | photo by John Hacker

SUPPORT:

We are sustained by the generosity of individuals who understand the importance of mediation and its subtle power to heal division and transform troubles. Our program revenues cover only a portion of our operating expenses. Tax deductible donations may be made to Miami Meditation Center Fund thru the Key Biscayne Community Foundation. For additional information or to make a donation contact Melissa White at 305.361.2770.

It's all good, Bill Dairyo Durham

Miami Meditation Center
260 Crandon Blvd #6
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
MiamiMeditationCenter.org

305.361.5555

Miami Meditation Center
Copyright © 2017 Miami Meditation Center, All rights reserved

Miami Meditation Center
260 Crandon Blvd. #6 Key Biscayne, FL 33149 info@MiamiMeditationCenter.orgwww.MiamiMeditationCenter.org • 305.361.5555