To give you an idea of what a Zen dork I am, today, my family and I went to an amusement park and I found myself meditating on a roller coaster. When practice is a way of life, this is not unusual. Everything is meditation. Meditating on a roller coaster is not much different from being mindful while washing dishes or driving to work. It is rather dorky though.
The way I meditate is to sit with the best posture I can manage and focus on my koan. My koan is “what am I”. When I meditate, I repeatedly ask myself, what am I…what am I…what am I. That’s good meditation. It’s not easy. There are lots of thoughts that distract me from my koan. It’s the same with being on a roller coaster, lots of distractions.
While meditating on a roller coaster, I was reminded of a picture I’ve seen a few times of a group of Buddhist monks riding a roller coaster, screaming in fear. When I see that picture, I imagine that those monks have not had a lot of exposure to roller coasters. Screaming would be the proper thing to do in that situation. I’m generally more comfortable on roller coasters, so terror does not come naturally anymore.
Today, we had the fortunate experience of finding a great roller coaster, with no line, so we went on it several times. On one of those rides, I worked my koan…what am I…what am I…what am I…as I rode up and down, through loops and a barrel roll. It’s kind of like extreme meditation. Just like in my regular meditation, where I sit facing a wall, I kept my eyes open. It was a great ride and a good meditation session, although it only lasted about two minutes.
I did get an answer to my koan though, what am I…what am I…what am I…I am a Zen dork…what am I…what am I…what am I….