Saturday, February 16, 2008


I took the day off yesterday so I could help our Zen center move. We’ve been priced out of our former space, right on Broadway in SoHo, one of the more pricey quadrants of Manhattan. Fortunately, we were able to negotiate a deal on a smaller space in the same building, so it was just a matter of boxing everything up and moving it two floors higher.

It’s funny -- the Zendo, when you see it, seems like a mostly empty room. It’s just meditation cushions, an altar, a few big plants by the window, some shoji screens. But then there’s the office, and the kitchen, and all the accoutrements that make a Zendo whole -- some people need chairs, for example, and we have tables for special events.

Pretty soon, you’re hauling a bunch of stuff upstairs.

The job was complicated by a couple of bureaucratic problems that kept us from moving a few things into our storage space and some continuing work on the new quarters. But overall, it went pretty smoothly.

And it was fun. I’ve found that spending time with my fellow sangha members on projects like this really tightens bonds. It’s how you get to know people. Practicing Zen has been interesting because most of it is silent sitting, and as a result there’s not a lot of interaction among Zendo members unless you step outside the standard practice periods.

So moving was good for that -- hanging out, joking around. I might even go back to help set up.

(Photo: Spigot in Dumbo, Brooklyn, Jan. 2008)


  1. I love projects. In fact it's harder for me to form solid friendships based only on hanging out together or going to the movies. Maybe that's why I've been a member of so many collectives. With a common cause at hand, working shoulder to shoulder, you come to know people so well.

    When you came to visit, of course I loved having lunch, but our great bonding came from walking around taking pics. That's the glue that sticks you and me together.

    Congratulations on the new space. May the energy settle so your Zen minds can rest.

  2. chop wood, carry water

    like reya, I enjoy having tasks and having a purpose so to speak... when I worked 'for the man' (translate for a large bureaucratic organization) I absolutely hated meetings - people sitting around, there was a lot of talking, but rarely, rarely accomplishing anything.

    blessings to the new space!

  3. Yes working together in a relaxed way (sans Boss) is a happy experience. i love the photos on your blog, just sitting with my morning coffee gazing at them, then studying the details, trying to imagine myself on that street at that moment when the patch of sunlight is there, or a shadow is cast a certain way. Because you photograph shadow and light, it really is an "in the moment" experience to look at them.

  4. Dennis likes sitting on furniture while people struggle to move it someplace else. It makes Dennis feel like royalty being carried on a pillow or chair.

  5. Nice photo. Very phallic.;) I like your photos. They require me to scan them ever so closely.