Autsit, Meditation For ASD

“Autsit: Meditation for people on the autism / neurodiverse spectrum

The Autsit meditation group is for people on the autism / neurodiverse spectrum. It meets at Dominican University in San Rafael. The facilitator, Anlor Davin, is Lay Ordained in the Soto Zen tradition, but the group does not follow any formal practices apart from basic upright sitting. Beginners and the curious (and, of course, Dominican students) are very welcome. There will be one period of meditation and a shorter period of walking meditation, followed by informal discussion. Practitioners of all faiths or none are invited. The meeting is free.

The group meets from 10:30 to noon on the first Saturday of each month, beginning in October 1, 2016. The precise location is the Saint Catherine Benicasa Chapel in the Edgehill Mansion, 75 Magnolia Ave, San Rafael, CA.

The Autsit Retreat

puzzleautsit                       Autsit 2012

Autsit 2015
Autsit 2016

Online Meditation Hall (on hiatus)

My name is Anlor. My friend Greg and I are both on the autism spectrum and both long-time sitters. I am lay-ordained in the Soto Zen lineage, but neither of us is qualified to teach in any formal tradition. Conventional meditation retreats are often too crowded, socially demanding, environmentally overwhelming and inflexible for autistic people, so we decided to put together a small meditation retreat friendlier to people on the autism spectrum.”

Already trained in meditation and convinced of its calming influence in my own life, I attended this month’s Autsit along with about six others, none from Marin, which shows how eager folks were to attend.

None was severely autistic, which is to be expected – I was the only one obviously engaging in repetitive stereotyped behaviors –  and all managed to sit for the thirty minutes, as well as a ten minute kinhin, or walking meditation.

Anlor, Greg and I are trained in the Soto tradition, so I felt comfortable wearing my rakasu, or layperson’s “robe”, which I laboriously stitched – it’s like origami with fabric – at Tassajara two summers ago.

I have felt rejected by Tassajara, especially when I applied to return this summer and they refused to allow me back.

Still, my teacher is with Tassajara’s parent corporation, San Francisco Zen Center, and I still have ties there – in fact, I will be seeing him at the City Center branch this Wednesday.

Many of my acquaintances and Facebook friends are at Green Gulch, City Center or Tassajara, so it is neither practical nor healthy) for me to hold any grudges.

Am really grateful Anlor and Greg have provided this activity and only wish it were more than once a month – the first Saturday from 10:30 A.M. until noon.



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