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Your Second Life with David Weinstein

Rockridge Meditation Community
Event organized by Rockridge Meditation Community

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Your Second Life with David Weinstein
Koan: We have two lives, the second begins when we realize that we have only one.

In the Tibetan tradition there is a strong emphasis on the awareness of the certainty of our death and the uncertainty of when it will happen. There are a number of meditations focused on death. In one, the instruction is, 'If you don't get scared, you're not doing it right.' It is hoped that the awareness of our death will inspire us to not waste time.

Zen spends less time focusing specifically on death. Though, at the end of the evening of a traditional Zen retreat, the words that are recited are, "Life and death are grave matters. All things pass quickly away. Always be completely alert, never neglectful, never indulgent." Not exactly a soothing lullaby to be sent off to sleep with.

Zen is concerned with focusing on the now. From the perspective of the now, death is irrelevant. However, as Samuel Johnson noted, the knowledge that you are to be hanged in a fortnight, focuses the mind wonderfully. The experience of focusing on the now, is the experience of the 10,000 things coming forth and confirming us. That is what it is to be fully alive.


Community Night is a chance to practice meditation in action, in the midst of our lives. Eating and drinking and conversing together is a unique opportunity to notice the way the practice of paying attention is present, or not, where the 'rubber' of our practice meets the 'road' of our life. Becoming intimate with the workings of our heart/mind while sitting quietly is helpful, but, if it isn't present in our day to day lives, what's the point?

Community Night is a chance to do that in a safe environment. It is also a time to discover and strengthen connections between each other and the community that is the container of our practice.

Each time we gather to practice together is a time that we can do that, not just once a month on Community Night. We purposely place a break between quietly sitting together and the group conversation about the koan, as a way to provide that opportunity during each of our gatherings, whether on Wednesday nights or Sunday mornings.

On Community Night we save that for after the meditation and group discussion and are able to luxuriate in each other's company for a bit longer than usual.