In summer 2018 David and the Zen teacher Nicole Baden had the idea of holding a Zen seminar in Leipzig: "If you find ten friends who participate, I'll do a seminar in your living room," Nicole said to David.
Twenty people came to the first living room seminar. We quickly became friends during the organization and decided to meet regularly for meditation and discussion. We had the same drilling questions: How can we find calm in our busy lives and in a constantly changing world? How can we be peaceful with ourselves and others? How can we fully experience our life? Many old meditation traditions seem to have found approaches or answers to our current life questions. But do these also relate to our postmodern society with its overwhelming complexity full of work, relationships and often contradicting requirements? Can we practice these teachings without being religious or believing in something that is alien to us?
Within a few months and with regular meetings, we decided to move our weekly meditation to the Element Ost Yoga Studio. We began to share our idea of practicing and exploring Zen with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. At this point we noticed a growing interest and the potential to open up our own space.
And suddenly the idea of the Zen Lab came up: What will
happen when we open a place of stillness in the
middle of a turbulent city?
Opening of the Room
After months of looking for a space, contract negotiations and an intensive week of laying the floor, the time had finally come: The Zen Lab was opened in November 2019. And how! Almost fifty friends and interested people came, among them to our great delight the Zen teachers Richard Baker and Nicole Baden. Together we experienced a wonderful and varied opening day.
When Richard Baker came to the Zen Lab the evening before the opening, the first thing he noticed was the large archway that divides the room: "A gateless gate! It leads to nowhere." Richard Baker seemed amazed by the unusual room separation, but also pleased with the possibilities it offered.
First and foremost, he was pleased with our courage to set up this project and he let himself be drawn in by the energy and euphoria of the young Zen practitioners.
By renting our own room, we have fulfilled a small dream. After now almost two years, of course, a lot has changed externally: We regularly sit in a wonderful place of silence, in the middle of the busy, bustling Eisenbahnstraße. Many events have taken place and our Zen practice has (somewhat) matured in its forms, intensity and depth.
What made this time special, however, is what's not visible at first glance: What was and is being created between us. The will of every single person to bring their own life, their own chaos, the wild, untamed, and crazy, the vulnerable and painful, the joyful, powerful, and exuberant into this place and to just see what happens. Simply to allow everything within you.
For many, the Zen Lab became a small family. You look forward to the next meditation, to see the others and to just be yourself. The Zen Lab is a vision of togetherness. The Zen Lab means interweaving the inside and the outside.
What a chance. What an exciting experiment!