But I did tell them that sitting in chairs was not zazen. Zazen is a physical practice. To sit in a chair and call it zazen is incorrect. It’s not that sitting on a chair will lead you to Satan and cause your eternal soul to burn forever in Hell. It’s not evil. It’s just not zazen.
…So this weekend in Antwerp and next weekend in Manchester, England I will be allowing people to sit in chairs if they insist upon it. I’ll be glad to have their participation. I won’t be mean to them or shout at them or tell them they’re doing something wrong. I don’t bite. I always allow people to do what they want as long as it doesn’t disrupt others. People sitting on chairs will be welcome to be with us and share in the experience in their own way. But they won’t be doing zazen. Not a big deal. It just isn’t zazen if you sit on a chair, unless there really honestly is no other way you can do it. That’s all.
It’s funny to me that people are so lacking in self-confidence, so unsure of their own experience, that they feel threatened by something like that. I just shrug and say okay, I guess I’m not doing zazen, then. I’m just meditating. The label isn’t important.
And as it happens, I found a book for a dollar at a library sale today that talks about my favorite style of meditating: doing it on the road. From the jacket copy:
You may well ask, what is Zen driving? The Japanese word Zen literally means meditation, and meditation means being fully aware, fully in touch with your surroundings. When you are in a meditative state, you are in your natural self, your Buddha self—and you can do it while driving.
That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout. Electronic music works best for me, but I can get absorbed in just about any kind of rhythm or melody. Having just returned from a whirlwind five-state jaunt, I got to spend a lot of time over hundreds of miles letting my mind sort itself out accompanied by a soundtrack. If that’s doing meditation wrong, baby, I don’t ever wanna be right.