I first experienced Zen sculptures about ten years ago when I visited Sedona, AZ and walked along a riverbank that was crowded with such towers. Each of us on the trip built one, but recently, I haven’t thought much about them until I went to Thoreau’s cabin site near Walden Pond. Visitors had built rock towers around the periphery of his cabin’s foundation, and I was quick to add one of my own.
One morning afterI returned from visiting Walden, I was walking in my neighborhood and passed a large, flat rock that is in a median strip in front of an apartment complex about a block from my home. On a whim, I picked up a few stones and built a Zen tower. For the first couple of months, I was the only one building towers, sometimes every day, and sometimes I’d build two. Building the towers became a vehicle for mindfulness because I walked the same route nearly every day, and it was easy to let the scenery slip past.
But like a seed that takes awhile to germinate, one day I noticed there was a tower that some unseen friend had built. Hooray! I thought, someone connected with me and is joining in the fun. By early October, when I was about to leave for a two-week trip to Europe, there were three towers on the main rock and one tower on each of the rocks in the back of the median. I smiled. The idea was catching on and gaining a life of its own.
The rock towers were still there when I returned.
Why is this important to me?
Sometimes when I think of how busy all of us are and how much we’re isolated in spending time with our screens, I lament that we’re losing a sense of community. I never see my neighbors in the apartments and have never met anyone who lives there. I know a few people in my immediate area, but I rarely see the folks who live on my street, and I’ve never told anyone about my Zen project. But I am a firm believer in the power of positive energy and shared consciousness. And now I have proof of my connection–or at least my idea’s connection–with my unseen neighbors. We’re truly in this together–one stone at a time. One idea at a time. One good deed at a time.