As I told somebody after dinner yesterday, with the state of mind I have been in the past week, helping to steer the inaugural meeting of the Young Urban Zen group was pretty much the last thing I felt like doing. But, as I know so well, the important thing is to show up, and by showing up, something happens. It may not be what you expect to happen, or what you want to happen, but it will be something.
Those of us who have been putting our heads together to get this group off the ground over the past five months have had no idea what the response would be when we finally opened the doors. I have to say, we surpassed our expectations. There were twenty-five people in the Conference Center last night - we had too many people to fit in the cosy back room, where we thought we would be; we filled out the large front room and just about ran out of cushions.
We did a bit of zazen instruction, and sat for another fifteen minutes after that. Everyone introduced themselves and said a few words about why they were here, and then we broke into smaller groups for people to express what they wanted the group to offer. Happily, most of the suggestions that came up were in line with the brainstorming we had previously done - some study of texts to help people in their lives, maybe some basic instructions about zen, some yoga, some social action, some socialising.
What felt best for me was the way that people expressed how this group really met a need they felt in their lives to be practising together with people of the same age. There were people who were new to the city, people who were new to practice, people who had been practising alone, people who had been coming to Zen Center but were keen to be a part of this new format. Hopefully that enthusiasm will be sustained in the weeks to come.
If you thought about coming but didn't make it last night, the next meeting is next Monday, 13th June at 7:30. The dharma is offered.