“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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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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