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Sunday Orientation/Intro to Meditation

Every Sunday mornings from 8:30 - 8:50 am , we offer a brief orientation to Clouds in Water and an introduction to meditation. No registration is necessary. If you are new to meditation or to Clouds, we invite you to attend. We hope this will encourage everyone to feel welcome and comfortable in our community! Note that this orientation is in-person only.

Getting Started in Zen Workshop

Once a month, usually on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 7 - 9 pm, we offer a two-hour workshop that goes into more detail about meditation practice and Buddhist teaching. Please see this page in order to view the most current workshop dates and to register for a workshop.  Look for the title "Getting Started in Zen." This workshop is offered as a hybrid - in-person and on Zoom.

Practicing at Clouds in Water

Clouds in Water welcomes students at all levels to develop and deepen their spiritual practice through a broad range of programs and offerings and through the building of a healthy, balanced, and inclusive community. You do not need to be a member to participate.

Some basic advice about meditation

The aim of meditation is to be intimate with whatever arises.

  • Breathe gently through your nose. Bring your awareness down to your belly as you notice the in and out of your breath.
  • Allow your breath to support awareness of your body, feelings, and the mind.
  • If awareness of your breath does not provide stability for you, focus intead on awareness of your body, awareness of sounds, or silently repeat phrases, such as "May I be safe. May I have mental happiness. May I have physical happiness. May I be at ease."
  • When your attention wanders, gently and directly return to the vivid present moment.
  • For sitting meditation, if it's appropriate for your body, sit comfortably with your back naturally straight either on a cushion or in a chair.
  • For walking meditation, if it's appropriate for your body, walk with awareness of your breath. As you inhale, raise the heel of your foot. When you reach the height of inhalation, slowly swing the foot forward, taking half a step. As you touch the ball of your foot to the floor, gently exhale. Then gently lower the rest of the foot.

Accessibility and Accommodations

We believe it's important that the dharma be available to everyone. We have some accommodations in place and will try to accommodate additional needs - just ask. Here are some things that we currently offer:

  • An in-floor hearing induction system for those hard of hearing
  • Special chairs for those with physical limitations
  • The opportunity to sit in a chair, lie down or move in meditation. 
  • Accommodations for various various dietary needs
  • Refraining from use of incense if someone in the sesshin has an incense allergy

Let us know if you need help accessing these accommodations.

In the process of learning the traditions of Soto Zen, students often encounter unfamiliar gestures like bowing and very specific ways of doing things. Many of these traditions come to us from the Japanese, Chinese and Indian traditions from which Soto Zen Buddhism bloomed. These forms are taught to give consistency in the way things are done, so that our minds can more easily become quiet. Sometimes, when these traditions are new, they can be very intimidating and instead will aggravate our minds. The best way to learn is to just stay open and flexible and know that it takes time. And let a teacher or senior student know if you are having difficulties.

Class Registration

Click here for the current Classes and Workshops registration page.

Overview of 2023 Classes

Click here for a preview of upcoming classes that may not yet be open for registration.