Meditation Centers Chicago IL

A more sporadic placement, like an awkward transition or misplaced passage, would have detracted from the whole. Mood music, dimmed lights, and quiet conversation helped me relax. Sensing we were ready, our instructor asked us to close our eyes and inhale deeply.

Diamond Way Buddhist Center: Chicago
(312) 421-0133
c/o Ben Ritchey, 830 N. Hermitage Ave. #1
Chicago, IL
Specialty
Tibetan Karma Kagyu

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Zen Buddhist Temple Chicago
(773) 528-8685
1710 W. Cornelia Ave.
Chicago, IL
Specialty
Zen

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Chicago Karma Thegsum Choling
(708) 652-9722
2100 S. Central Avenue
Cicero, IL
Specialty
Tibetan Karma Kagyu

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Chicago Rime Center
(773) 525-1088
4026 North Kenmore Suite 1
Chicago, IL
Specialty
Tibetan

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Liberation Park
(708) 848-4816
518 Belleforte Ave
Chicago - Oak Park, IL
Specialty
Mindfulness

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Ancient Dragon Zen Gate
(312) 925-9477
Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center
Chicago, IL
Specialty
Zen - Soto

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Rainbow Lotus Sangha
(773) 271-8811
The office of Integrative Medicine
Chicago, IL
Specialty
Buddhist

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Chozen-ji Illinois Betsuin, Zen Training Academy International
(773) 472-3290
3717 N. Ravenswood Ave., #113
Chicago, IL
Specialty
Zen - Rinzai

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Chicago Vajrayana Buddhist Center
(708) 763-0132
13 Harrison Street
Oak Park, IL
Specialty
Kadampa Buddhism

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Zen Community of Oak Park
(708) 445-1651
163 N. Humphrey Ave.
Oak Park, IL
Specialty
Zen

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No Need to Meditate Perfectly

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By Susan Lembo Balik

I sat cross-legged on the living-room rug, closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to quiet my mind. Alas, random thoughts persisted, flickering about like fireflies on a summer evening. After five minutes, I abandoned my Zen pose. I would have rather folded laundry or gone on a 3-mile run—anything with more tangible results.

One day, I shared my frustrations about meditating correctly with a practiced teacher and learned that there was no wrong way to meditate—it would be like breathing wrong. I was trying too hard. She suggested I come to her meditation group, but meditating with a dozen other people sounded distracting, and sitting in a library chair wasn’t exactly my definition of bliss. But I liked her “can’t do it wrong” approach, so I ventured to the library basement for this “meditation spa.”

The first thing I noticed was the particularity of the circular chair positioning. As a writer, I appreciated such attention to flow. A more sporadic placement, like an awkward transition or misplaced passage, would have detracted from the whole. Mood music, dimmed lights, and quiet conversation helped me relax. Sensing we were ready, our instructor asked us to close our eyes and inhale deeply. On the exhale, we joined her in chanting om, releasing our breath for as long as possible. We did this three times, our voices overlapping in one long melodious note, as tranquil as a wind chime. The chanting slowed my breathing and stilled my mind for a short time, and when thoughts popped up, I did my best to ignore them. Then the instructor asked us to drink in a white light, each breath filling us up like a balloon. After about 20 minutes, she gently “brought us back,” though there was no place to come back from. We’d never left the library basement.

What I discovered was that meditating perfectly is not only unattainable—it’s missing the point. It’s not the mantra, the breathing, the teacher, or the time of day; instead, it is the simplicity of peace and silence I found within myself through meditating. Now when I meditate, I don’t get upset when I worry or when I can’t empty my mind. Instead, I try to open myself a little more each time to the stillness that has always been there.

Tell us about your first time! In 400 words or fewer, send us your story about trying something new to better your health. Email myfirst@naturalsolutionsmag.com .

Author: Susan Lembo Balik

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