Life limits your freedom and your security. From a certain perspective we are all imprisoned and we’re all ultimately homeless. There are certain people however, who live these truths more intensively.
Under the motto, “Change your body; change your mind; change your life,” Zenways has been sharing meditation and yoga practice for over five years within homeless and prison charity, the St Giles Trust. In this field we’ve seen how powerfully beneficial these practices can be. Now we want to expand the work.
Our volunteer design and edit team have created “Rough Waking”, a book intended to spread the word, begin fundraising and get more teachers involved.
Sharing their stories and their responses to this shared human predicament of confinement and insecurity are the book’s three contributors:
Prize-winning photographer and meditator, Laz, uses words and images and an intimate knowledge of homelessness to illustrate his path through brokenness to creativity.
Change your body; change your mind; change your life
Inspired by Zen Master Shinzan’s joke that Zen life combines prison and homelessness, “Autumn in the monastery and other poems,” by Julian Daizan Skinner depicts pains and joys arising through his three decades in the Zen world.
Zen artist Kazuaki Okazaki who, after eighteen years incarceration on death row was executed last summer, contributes a sequence of images depicting a spiritual journey from lostness and wandering, through the intense confinement of Zen training, and then onwards into a new homelessness – a vastly expanded realm of liberation and service.
The whole book underscores the Zen emphasis on direct confrontation with reality and how for all of us that alone leads to liberation. Zen Master, peacemaker and homelessness activist Bernie Glassman wrote of Rough Waking: "Whether you’re behind visible or invisible bars, whether your addiction is to alcohol, sex or to the self — right where you are is the path. In each word in this book there is a quickening. In each page Kwan Yin beckons you. Plunge into not-knowing and find compassion. I wish a Rough Waking to all".
We’ve already been able to promote avenues for more yoga and meditation teachers to get involved and we want to foster more situations in which people who wouldn’t otherwise experience the life-changing effects of this work can do so.
Please join with us
Donate to the project and we’ll gratefully send you original artworks, limited-edition shikishi prints, mini-posters and other presents. Even better, you’ll get to know that your money is helping some very marginalized people. Once the book costs are covered, any remaining funds (together with book sales) go towards sponsoring training in trauma awareness for Zenways yoga and meditation teachers – vital preparation for engaging in this work. Remaining and ongoing income will go to frontline homelessness and prison charities, including The Prison Phoenix Trust, St Giles Trust, Angulimala and we hope, eventually, our own charity.
A3 poster (frame not included)
Numbered limited edition shikishi card print (frame not included)