First Encounters

Andrei Marks · November 13, 2009

<div>This was my very first contact with zazen. Or at least what would eventually set me on the path to finding zazen. It was one of my father’s books, although I don’t recall precisely what it was that compelled me to pick it off the shelf and read it. Had I read something in a fantasy novel? Seen something on television? The memory is lost to me. I don’t remember if it was fourth or fifth grade either. I do remember holding it in my room in our Tacoma house. Second floor, I always remember my room as being shadier, cooler, and therefore slightly bluer than my sister’s room right across the hall. So the orange book stood out in my hands.

I don’t remember meditating, although I’m sure I tried it. And I don’t remember what I thought of the exercise, or however intermittently I’d tried it for the next few years. I don’t even remember much about what the book said! Although I do remember a sense to reacting to some of the mystical elements in it (the author practices in the Tibetan tradition), although I don’t know if I’d attached any negative emphasis on it at that point.</div><div>
</div><div>It sure is difficult, trying to understand who you were so many years ago without tripping over any hindsight bias. You start out searching for someone, and end up with a vague and ambiguous figure who leaves more questions than answers.</div><div>
</div><div>I also read Siddhartha, at some point. And I know my dad had the Tao of Pooh, although I don’t think I ever finished that, I don’t think it grabbed my interest at all. I think I would like to look through this book again, though.</div>

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