After meditation in the garden again this morning, sit down at my desk and decide to throw open my windows, letting the lovely cool of early day – and the bubbling flow of life « outside » – drift in on a delicious summer breeze. I know this won’t be possible later, when the intense afternoon heat sets in. Because this moment won’t last (like all things), I appreciate it fully now.
Cars and trucks and buses roar past, birds coo and sing, a few people are engaged in a conversation on the sidewalk, others pass, heading into their days, or maybe returning from their nights. An Ecuadoran friend of my son arrives at our house after an overnight bus trip from Luxembourg. After two sentences I have exhausted my ability to speak Spanish. My son then translates, or we all revert (sadly) to the world’s default language, English. They have breakfast and then are gone, my son to work, his friend to visit the splendours of Paris in the summertime. I envy him discovering this marvellous city for the first time!
Of course Paris can be always new to me, too. I just need to shake myself free from my mind’s concepts and ideas about Paris (and I have many!). To dis-cover is literally the opposite of to cover, it means to remove the cover. Which is exactly what Zen practice is about. Which is why I threw open my windows to the city, to the world, to the whole of life this morning.
The environmental activist and Buddhist thinker Joanna Macy notes that « the spiritual journey is experienced and expressed as going into the heart of the world, » including « this world of suffering, brokenness and imperfection, » in order to « discover the sacred… » Think about that: The sacred (the mystery) is always there, we just need to dis-cover it, not by withdrawing from the world but plunging into it. That’s exactly what we’re doing this week.
A footnote: Sorry about any inconvenience you experienced due to the maintenance work on the server last night. We didn’t know about it in advance. But I’m grateful that somewhere there are people whom I don’t know working to make our connections here possible. They’re in our retreat, too!