Day 1 Task: Sit on your knees in a public place.
I had once sat cross-legged on the sidewalk of a benchless bus stop and had peanut butter cheese crackers thrown at me, so of all the possible tasks, this was one i looked the lease forward to. But I was determined to get this task completed, so just before 7 PM, I knelt in the seiza position I had used in karate classes. It was dark out, but I made sure I was far enough on the sidewalk and under the street light so I wouldn’t scare the bejesus out of anyone who happened by. Of all of the people who biked or drove by, none noticed me. I think two walking people saw me, but they were on the other side of the street and didn’t say anything. I thought I felt a gaze out of one of the apartment building windows across the street. But that was about it as far as human interaction. I sat there and kept thinking about the fact that I was in seiza position. It seemed only natural to mediate. In the opening of every karate class we had a ritual that went like this: Seiza (kneeling position), Mokuso (Meditate), Shomenei Rei (bow to floor and show respect to the ancestors, to all who have come before, to each other, by saying thank you (domo arigato gozaimasu), then sensei ne rei, (bow to the sensei/teacher and say thank you). I sat there and listened to all of the sounds. There is a church across the street and I heard the most wonderful voice of an older black man singing with all of his heart. I knew who it was because I once saw him come out of the church still singing in that magnificent tenor. The leaves rustled around me. I could hear the cars on the main road. I thought about the shootings that happened on Saturday here in my neighborhood. I thought about the changing of seasons. I bowed, putting my hands on the ground, fingers pointed towards each other, lowered my head thank you, rose up put my hands back in the same spot, lowered my head, thank you.