Home > Meditation, Street Retreat > Street Meditation in June

Street Meditation in June

On June 11th, 2011, SWZC set out on our second downtown meditation of the year. We met up at Horton Plaza’s City Park and sat the corner beginning at 10am. Going into the morning, I had an idea that this day-long meditation would be easier from gained previous experience. This idea was all stripped away by the end of the day.

As the taxis, buses, dogs and pedestrians all buzzed about, we all sat strong. Many people mumbled amongst their group “What are they doing?” “Oh. They’re meditating!”  One man asked us if we needed any money and then walked a few feet away to talk to himself about the Bible and Ron Jeremy. Another die-hard fan of real life irony passed by while imitating car horns and engine sounds right before he screamed at the top of his lungs “SERENITY!!!

Street meditating opens up the world as the zendo. The more I sat, the more it hit me that this experience is not limited to just sidewalks but shopping malls as well! I felt tension sitting the middle of Horton Plaza. I was so certain a security guard was on the way at any second to escort us away…30 minutes later, we arose from zazen and went on our way to the Civic Centre. 

For service, meals were prepared for the homeless. PB&J sandwiches, fresh fruit and water were given throughout the day as our fellow hungry souls appeared. The Civic Centre also served as a staging area for the San Diego Slut Walk, a walking protest against the Toronto Police’s view on sexual assault that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. 

As the street sitting came to it’s ending at 4pm, the exposure of weather and concrete and brick was wearing in. I felt closer to my emotional edge than ever before, as if riding a wave of roughness. It’s all there…the smell of urine stuck to the bottom of your shoes, the consistent passerby gawking, the unrelenting heavy decibel level.

Later that evening at 6pm, SWZC played host for a Pot Luck with the Red Lotus Society! It was wonderful to share a meal and great conversation with our friendly sangha neighbors.

Watch out for the October Street Retreat! We will spend a few days and nights, from 13th to the 16th, bearing witness with Roshi Genro Gauntt.

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Categories: Meditation, Street Retreat
  1. June 17, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    thanks Kozan!

  2. August 17, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    Just reading this now–sorry :). But it’s so great. Not only is street retreat about the BRAVEST thing I can imagine, you’re writing about it is SO great to read! xo

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