iZendo – a virtual meditation group?

I have regular fantasies that arise when I am meditating – a little like recurring dreams. I am sure most meditators have similar distractions. The really cleverly distracting fantasies are about Buddhism and meditation. The train of thought goes from thinking of meditation to thinking about meditation to planning and scheming and rehearsing conversations and suddenly we are 100 miles from here and now and so no longer meditating.

This particular distraction starts off with the frustration of sitting alone and that it would be nice to walk down a mossy path to a zendo that I share with others and silently sit as a group. It trips off into where I would build the zendo, who would own it, how people would join … The fact that there is a perfectly good meditation center 10 minutes walk away seems to slip passed my drifting mind.

In reality getting to the meditation center, arranging for keys and committing to open up and close down at precise times, even arranging to be fully dressed are sufficient barriers to prevent meditation occurring at all. This is especially so when I can’t leave the house for being on call for the children either because my wife is out, asleep or just needs some time.

Recently the fantasy has taken a dangerous turn. I could sit with other people virtually. If we shared a web application that showed who was sitting when they were sitting then I could arrange with other people to sit at a specific time and we could all just register our presence. This may sound nuts but I think it would really help my practice and I have the funny feeling it might help others.

So I have started design and build of a simple system and will blog more on its progress. The trick is to abandon the idea before it involves others if it looks like a bad one.

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