Already deep into afternoon here in Montreuil, and, amid a heat wave, I’m wishing everyone a fine day.
Had a night of restless and little sleep, troubled by the thick heat throughout the night and by a mosquito that bit me time and again. I’d like to think the mosquito was satisfied, even if I was left itching and tired.
When thinking of this retreat that we are doing this week in the heart of our lives, I’m surprised to realize how present is my own experience of living so long ago with my young family in the Dana Zen community with my teacher, Genno Roshi. Those 6 years were one continuous retreat in the heart of life. And that experience gave me the basic grounded groundlessness to live in the heart of my life wherever I am. Which is what we are all testing for ourselves this week.
(For more on my story and the origins of the Heart of Life retreat, here is a link to a talk in French that I gave Friday night June 21 in Paris: http://wildflowerzen.org/paris-21-juin-2019-quest-ce-que-la-retraite-au-coeur-de-la-vie-2/)
The way to « respond appropriately » to whatever arises, I learned during those years, is to meet life’s situations without attachments to ideas about yourself, the others, and the situations in general. It requires acting without attachment to the results of your action. You just never know! If I had been attached to results, I doubt I would have left my elegant apartment in Paris, taken my small children and moved in with my Zen teacher. I certainly would not be writing these words now.
This morning, I was touched by a lovely meeting I had with her, Genno Roshi, in her garden (which is next door to mine). Nothing special, just easy conversation in the cool shade, like we have had so many times before throughout our more than 25 years of practice together. I think it was the « ease » of « nothing special » that touched me.
Now, after lunch, I’m inspired by this very moment, writing these words for you, not knowing what may result from this very simple action, so easy and not special.