Another essay by The Zen Daddy [see Contributors]

Greetings and salutations to all, and a happy Thanksgiving day! The Zen Daddy is back to talk about an important concept: not serving the cushion, but allowing the cushion to serve you.

Life is busy, whether we’re looking for a job or trying to keep one, and we can allow ourselves to get wound way too tight and let meditation slip by the wayside. The Zen Daddy himself is currently going through a round of this, compounded with some physical issues that are interrupting his usual practice. The thinking was, “I’ll start again when I can sit as I usually do,” but the physical issues have been ongoing, and space between sittings grew. A few days ago he finally made it back to the cushion. He sat down, gently rang the bell, composed himself, and unexpectedly started sobbing. The constant pressure at work from working on a high-visibility project, the recent death of a friend, and lack of practice had pulled him so far to one side that he needed centering, and that began once he sat down.

So what lesson does the Zen Daddy bring from this story? The lesson is twofold: first, meditation is for you. If you can’t physically sit in traditional pose, sit in a chair, or lie down on the floor. Anything you can do to keep that consciousness of being in the moment going is much better than doing nothing just because you can’t do it the way you want to. Second, sometimes you have to let go and let your meditation session be what it wants to be. If you’ve got a reasonably disciplined practice and emotions are overwhelming you, maybe your meditation needs to be about sitting with those emotions and observing them. We’re not meditating so we can be a slave to the machines, we’re simply stoking the transforming embers of the dharma so we can remember our Buddhahood!

Enjoy your day!



About bensten

Teacher, writer, blogger and spiritual practitioner. Managing editor of

One response »

  1. Umi B says:

    This article was a great reminder about what the holidays do to many of us. I find that this time of year is especially stressful to me because of family drama, and it often pulls me away from my daily practice when I need it most! Thanks for reminding me to come back to center.

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