By Alex Chong Do Thompson
This photo was taken in a park near my house, and the poster is a protest sign that I’ve carried previously during demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
I believe strongly that practice doesn’t stop when we leave the cushion, and blending protest with my meditation helps me to live the dharma even as I work to learn more about it. As a result, I often find myself meditating in public spaces (parks, street corners, train stations, etc.). This is very different from four years ago when I practiced only inside of Zen centers and behind closed doors.
Initially, I started meditating as a means of escaping the world around me.
I had hoped to find inner peace by detaching myself from the messiness of human life. But Buddhism has taught me that we don’t find peace and happiness by separating ourselves from the world. Rather, we must immerse ourselves more fully in it.
When I practice meditation in the midst of laughing families and busy shoppers, the entire world becomes my zendo. More than that, I recognize my oneness with the world.
Photo: Alex Thompson