Last Wednesday, we gathered again for meditation for peace in the city square. We were six people this time, three men and three women. I think it was -8 degrees Celcius, but there was no wind. I found it easier to be comfortable this time. Last time, it was -13 and windy, and a bit more difficult to keep warm.
Our form is quite simple. About twenty minutes before noon, I go with the car to drop off the signs and my cushion and blankets at the square. Then I park the car somewhere nearby, and go back to meet up with the others. Most participants arrive five or ten minutes before noon. We have some time for greetings, before we arrange our cushions and blankets and sit down.
I try to remember to often say in the beginning that it's perfectly ok to stretch out, change posture, take a break, and go inside to get warm if necessary. And I usually check in the end if everyone has been comfortable. Or at least relatively comfortable.
The city hall's big clock serves as our beginning and ending bell. Twelve chimes at noon, and we begin our sitting meditation. We keep a lowered gaze, not looking those passing by in the eyes. For this hour, we let the form of our practice speak for itself. The folded legs forming a solid base. The spine held in a relaxed upright posture. Comfortable and still. Breathing in and out. Paying attention. Receiving and letting go.
And the signs. We have one sign in Swedish, and one in English, with peace symbols, that says:
Some people stop, read the sign, and stand still for a little while. Others rush by. Sometimes I hear comments, mostly positive. To me, it's a remarkable experience to sit still in the middle of all the movements and sounds of the city square, along with what is moving in my body and mind. Returning to the practice, again and again. Posture. Breathing in and out. Together.
At one 'o clock, the chime from the big clock marks the end of sitting meditation. I usually move a little bit in front of the group, and turn around toward my friends in the practice. With my palms joined together, I thank the group for the hour of meditation for peace, and we bow. Then we usually go to a nearby restaurant to have lunch and share thoughts and experiences with each other.
Maybe it will change somehow in the future, but for now, this is our simple form for public meditation for peace that we enjoy practicing once every month. And you are more than welcome to join us, in whatever way that is possible for you!