“Being still is the greatest activity in my day. I sit before any of the sounds of life appear. I only hear the birds. Even when I sit alone it feels like others are nearby. The room and the mood here change after meditation. In this room I can just roll out of bed, and the sun changes the dark slowly over my shoulder.”

7:00 a.m.
writer, calligrapher
54 years old



“I like sitting on pillars or places that are high up. I’m used to being quiet and still—I was brought up by nuns. I started sitting on the refrigerator after a friend came to cook in my kitchen. I don’t use the refrigerator for anything else—it’s empty. I needed a place to rest. Being above makes me feel like a rock on the mountain. I especially like to walk in the forest. There I look for tall tree stumps.”

7:00 p.m.
40 years old

“It’s difficult to decide on the time I will sit. In the morning I get up with Rabin, my son, and discipline is lacking. I prefer to sit when he is taking a siesta. I am not scared of the solitude—I like it. The more I meditate, the deeper it goes. It’s the quality of the meditation, not the quality of the space and time, that matters to me.”

9:00 a.m.
news writer
40 years old


“Because I like to chant simply, I cannot stand the others’ voices in a group and their ornamentation of the melody. Here in the house, my master is with me; he is with me even on the metro. Sitting in front of the wall is a better place than at the window. I have my tree of refuge before me. Once I have done my offering, everything else is easier.” 

5:00 a.m.
teacher, singer
27 years old

“I started sitting about three weeks ago. In the bathroom I can be near my pillow from Germany with the red heart and the white candle Duncan gave me. I can lock the door. First I write my dreams down, and then I meditate. I always move a little.”

5:45 p.m.
35 years old


Marcia Lieberman is a San Francisco–based photographer. Her first book was When Divas Confess: Master Opera Singers in Their Leading Roles. She is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and also teaches at California College of Arts, Oakland.

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