Here in Montreuil, my morning on this first day of our retreat has been busy. After a short meditation session, I’ve been managing late registrations for the retreat in between breakfast, the usual morning routine, helping my son with some administrative stuff, Skype interviews with students…

The meditation was essential. In the supreme meal (le repas suprême) of our life, as Bernie Glassman calls it in his book Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master’s Lessons for Living a Life That Matters. (V.F.: Comment accommoder sa vie à la manière zen), the first course is spirituality (le premier plat est la spiritualité). Spirituality « helps us to realize the oneness of life and provides a still point at the center of all our activities, » Bernie writes. (« La spiritualité nous aide a réaliser l’unité de la vie et nous offre un point tranquil au milieu de tous nos activités. ») That’s why we have our meditation schedule this week. That’s why at noon we stop for a moment of silence. We could also practice « prayer or listening to music or dance or taking walks or spending time alone, » Bernie writes, « anything that helps us realize or reminds us of the oneness of life – of what Buddha meant when he said, ‘How wonderful, how wonderful.’  »

Bernie gives us five courses and recipes (5 plats et recettes) for this supreme meal of a full life: spirituality (la spiritualité); study and learning (étudier et apprendre); livelihood (gagner sa vie); social action/change (changement social); relationship/community (communauté). We need to have just the right amount of each one, but that amount is always changing and it is different for each one of us. Every day this week we will concentrate on one of these courses.

So today please pay attention to this spiritual course. Take time to look into the oneness of life. We often wonder how to bring Zen into our life. But Zen is life! What is there to bring? Where? Everything, the whole of life, is right here, now. How wonderful!

Tell us about your experience today – how do you see the oneness of life, or not see it? How do you feel when you find that still point, or don’t find it?

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you did not receive instructions from me yesterday, check your Spam and Junk mailboxes!