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Community Spotlight: Rosa N Schnyer

Where do you live?

Austin

How did you come to meditation?

I was introduced to meditation when I was 14 living in Mexico City. I was then fortunate to encounter Zen in my early 20’s. After practicing on my own for a while, I went to live at Dai Bosatsu Zendo, a Rinzai Zen community in upstate NY. My travels took me eventually to Boston, where the gentleness of the insight tradition helped rekindle my formal practice and where I was first introduced to the teachings of Pema Chödron and the Tibetan heart practices. In Austin, I found a steady source of wisdom and inspiration in the Quiet Mind, Open Heart sangha led by Kelly.

What inspires you to meditate?

Meditation allows me to fully inhabit my life and to bear witness to the unfolding of this precious but challenging human existence. It helps me to engage with purpose and meaning, to feel connected to others, to overcome self-centeredness. It really is the backbone of my day to day life.

What does your meditation practice look like?

I sit for a good while just about every morning. At this point, I combine quietly sitting, complemented by loving kindness and Tonglen. I try to sit and study with others a couple of times per week, to continue delving into the teachings and exploring the big questions. I aspire to infuse my clinical work with the foundations of practice, and try to attend tenderly to the human heart. Often, my work in clinic and my sitting practice blend together. It’s a bit trickier to stay present with other day to day tasks.

Do you have any rituals or routines that support your practice?

A good cup of morning green tea, a sunrise bike ride, a brisk walk, and yoga practice.

How is your life different because of meditation?

There are moments when I can actually pause, before reacting, a huge task for my inner volcano! I see and feel with greater intensity what’s unfolding around me. I often feel immensely grateful. I’ve learned not to take myself so seriously.

What are the biggest challenges you have encountered in your practice?

I’ve gone through periods of agonizing doubt. I’m not a devotional person, and I’m rather pragmatic, I have to feel the truth in my bones to make it real. That can sometimes be a challenge. It’s difficult to juggle everything and still be able to devote as much time and energy as I’d like to devote to practice.

What advice would you share with someone who is just starting a meditation practice?

Just sit and let your breath bring you home. With kindness and steadfastness, don’t get up until the bell rings. Let the practice ignite in you a sense of wonderment, and let the beauty of life as well as the suffering of the human heart, inspire your practice, everyday.

What does your heart most long for?

To make a long lasting difference somehow, somewhere. I would love to find courage and the know how to decrease homelessness.

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