The Tea House Zendo at Baguio

This is the tea house zendo at Baguio where I try to visit every week to practice meditation.

The tea house is surrounded by flowering shrubs and a little forest of seemingly old pine trees. There is a mysterious difficulty in describing the ambiance inside the zendo, much like the difficulty of putting meditative trance into words.

I once experienced writing inside the zendo, sitting on a short chair while looking outside the window. That writing session, I’m afraid, brought me deeper into my consciousness more than all the sitting meditations I did inside the zendo. But that is perhaps because writing comes more natural to me than sitting down and counting my breath.

Meditation is one of the hardest things that ever happened to me, and mind you, I went through a lot in this young body of mine. But it also was the single thing that made the biggest difference in my life after 2011.

If there is one practice, dare I say “skill,” that one could cultivate and affect every area of one’s life, it’s mindfulness. And it doesn’t really matter what kind of mindful practice one uses to cultivate mindfulness, as long as one does so.

The Pareto principle says that 80% of results come from just 20% of the effort. For me, mindfulness is the 20% factor that makes the most difference in all aspects of my life. And that is why I cultivate it, both when it’s easy and when it’s hard.