Brent Haas is a native Ohioan in training to be a Zen Buddhist priest. His group rustbeltZen was founded with a mission to spread zen-based meditation, mindfulness and acceptance to populations outside the temple with a special emphasis on those in recovery or experiencing emotional distress.
“Zen Buddhism is not about working towards a goal of achievement, like so much in life, but instead a quiet, personal and more lasting transformation within,” Haas says. Soto Zen, his practice for 17 years, uses sitting and being present to unfold acceptance and inner peace.
“It’s about intimacy, with self and everything. Through being present, we come to a deeper state of knowing and not knowing,” Haas says.
Haas’ advice for us in today’s climate is to practice getting in touch with what you’re feeling and letting it move through you. This can be nurtured by being still, reflection and ritual.
“When is there gonna be another time you’re not allowed to work, the opportunity to cultivate a practice, to be still, with beginners’ mind and not knowing mind,” Haas says. “And let us thank those who are allowing us and supporting us to cultivate this practice- those working on the front lines…for giving us this opportunity.”
Sit with it
Haas continues the mission of rustbeltZen for people everywhere including prisons, rehabs and support groups for many aspects of the human condition. The group hosts Mindful Mondays with Toledo City Paper and a Thursday session called “Meditation in Recovery” on Zoom.
“My practice has always been about sharing with others and people in suffering,” Haas says. “I am not a teacher. I invite people to gather together; including everything, excluding nothing.”
Mindful Mondays take place at 11am on toledocitypaper.com through May 18th. More dates may be added depending on our stay-at-home orders from the COVID-19 virus.
“Everything changes,” Haas says. “This too shall pass.”
Register for Mindful Mondays: toledocitypaper.com/mindful-mondays/