Lazy autumn Sunday afternoon. After a quiet morning and a lovely lunch with my husband (fish with leeks and new potatoes), I don’t feel much like doing anything other than lounging around the house. One thing I do want to do, though, is make this blog post to wrap up our week of practice…
Many heartfelt thanks to everyone, to all the retreat participants whoever and wherever you are. « Formally, » there were 60 people registered for this retreat; « informally, » we can’t even begin to fathom how many « participated. » Thank you all for sharing your lives and practices in whatever way you did with us all, and with your families, colleagues, friends, passers-by. And look out for the next Heart of Life retreat in the spring.
We completed the week here in Paris with a rich day of sitting, working, cooking, talking together. Among us, we even had a little boy who came with his parents. That’s life. That’s practice. The talks that were given (in English) on Friday night and on Saturday should now be posted on the website. The titles are « What are They Saying to Me? » and « Behind the Scaffolding » and both elaborate on things we were addressing all week. Also, remember that I post regularly on this blog (especially now that the technology is allowing me to do it again), so please visit it regularly and offer comments.
On my way home from sitting on Friday night, I came upon something written on the sidewalk not far from my house. It was a circle with a dot in the middle, and above it was written, « Wish you were here »! Well, I am here, I thought! I’m always here. And so are you. We’re always right here, wherever we are. In the heart of our lives, each one and all together. « This is our life, » we chant sometimes, « day and night we mediate upon it. »
Sunday, Away in the countryside. Visiting friends. We go to the rose maze. And ‘get lost’ with the aroma. We read stories of three women. A Noongar Aboriginal woman from the region. A white English. And an Italian woman. Italian kids used to get mocked at school because of the salami sandwiches. Noongar people saw life changing dramatically after European invasion. Stories keep us alive. They connect us. Show how so intertwined we are. That despite all the changes. We are here. These women are here. And I listen.
This week I was able to meditate with a renewed energy and determination and put to one side a lot of my worries, frustrations and anger. So thank you Amy. Just knowing that there are people out there – a sangha – was enough. Thanks.
And now the week’s over, back to the worries, frustrations and anger . . .
. . . I heard the first of the two talks that Amy had put online about the American drug industry, that should do it!
In the talk I felt for, and could relate entirely to the lady who was in pain from not expressing her anger.
Also I felt that I have a lot to be grateful for, and have a lot more than those refugees who have nothing and probably have much more to be angry about.
There was something, a discovery, that came with the renewed intimacy of the week: I normally cannot – consciously – go to the place of anger, it is all too much, too painful. And yet, every so slightly, I managed to touch the surface these last few days, to pass by the perimeter wall and keep going without running away. My fears are of losing control and pain and (briefly) sanity. That’s why I normally run.
So that will be my practice. Sitting with whatever comes up, including anger, and the pain, and the pain of anger, and the fear of pain, and the fear of fear etc. and just being there with it, and even grateful for being there etc. Of course, I’ll then forget, and just be in it without awareness. But then I’ll remember again. But then I’ll forget. Remember. Forget. Remember forget. Awareness delusion awareness delusion. On off on off. Awareness delusion. On off on off on off on off …. . . . Could someone please change that darn lightbulb that keeps flickering?
Hey, that’s not a lightbulb, that’s my mind!
I felt supported by this practice together, I was inspired by how the questions came to life every day. I feel once more encouraged to practice zen ‘in the heart of life’, every day, every instant. How else and where else I ask myself… and still: what a good reminder!
Thank you all and thank you Roshi Amy.
Till soon, Daniël
Just listened to the Friday evening talk. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us and posting it so quickly. That’s amazing that we can participate in that, although somewhat time-delayed.
I feel grateful for being connected with you all, thank you for your practice and sharing your experiences !
With much gratitude and thanks to You Amy and to everyone who shared/ participated formally …or not.
The daily sharing/ tailking circle in the heart of life has inspired me in a way that I did not expect.
With love Tania
Thank you Amy for inviting us to continue and to consider a final post – to continue commenting. No end to practising this way with you all. No end to the sense of extending this practise in awareness because it is already everything everywhere. So much gratitude Amy and how wonderful to sit within the clarity of your presence after 20 years of not seeing your face. I remember meeting you at Browfoot in 1993! Thank you to everyone for this week. I am immeasurably nourished by your lives and our practice together. It becomes irrelevant that I am too disabled to be with you physically. We are all each others practice. We dedicate this practice especially to those of us who suffer and, in some way, we are always holding each other.
After a very strange week, I realize is not easy to be in the heart of life, specialy when that means to be present, consciousness. I had to slep for 12h to feel myself again, to be here. I will keep doing the retreat in this following weeks, to see me to see around.
Thank you all
It was really wonderful and special and I am here too…!
Beautiful. Thanks, Amy, and everyone. A precious week. X
Today I want to say « thank you » as I realise I haven’t said it yet. Thank you all for being here. And thank you for sharing your life so greatly. I always love these Heart of Life retreats because for me they close the gap between what I usually call « life » and « practice ». Moreover, it is a beautiful way of keeping in touch with so many of you spread around the globe, whom I only see once or twice a year!
It has been once again a pleasure. I bow.
OUI nous sommes ici, chacun là nous habitons et abritons notre vie, celle-là même qui nous habite et nous abrite.
Et, aujourd’hui, nous étions plusieurs personnes à être en montagne, dans les hauts vents, les giboulées, les éclaircies.
Il y avait le feu de nos coeurs, l’eau océanique de nos larmes, la terre sous les feuilles tombées, le bois des arbres, l’air froid qui nous rougissaient les oreilles et le nez … il y avait la vie, toujours, partout, lors de cette cérémonie de dispersion des cendres de Gaëlle, une amie. Il y avait un drapeau tibétain fait de son foulard, des voeux ici et plus loin que nous, des chants d’amour, des rires.
Et ce texte qui a résonné dans les hauteurs de nos montagnes drômoises, que j’ai à coeur de souffler vers vous :
Ne reste pas là à pleurer devant ma tombe,
Je n’y suis pas, je n’y dors pas…
Je suis le vent qui souffle dans les arbres
Je suis le scintillement du diamant sur la neige
Je suis la lumière du soleil sur le grain mûr
Je suis la douce pluie d’automne…
Quand tu t’éveilles dans le calme du matin, Je suis l’envol de ces oiseaux silencieux
Qui tournoient dans le ciel…
Alors ne reste pas là à te lamenter devant ma tombe
Je n’y suis pas, je ne suis pas mort !
Pourquoi serais-je hors de ta vie simplement
Parce que je suis hors de ta vue ?
La mort tu sais, ce n’est rien du tout.
Je suis juste passé de l’autre côté.
Je suis moi et tu es toi.
Quel que soit ce que nous étions l’un pour l’autre avant,
Nous le resterons toujours.
Pour parler de moi, utilise le prénom
Avec lequel tu m’as toujours appelé.
Parle de moi simplement comme tu l’as toujours fait.
Ne change pas de ton, ne prends pas un air grave et triste.
Ris comme avant aux blagues qu’ensemble nous apprécions tant.
Joue, souris, pense à moi, vis pour moi et avec moi.
Laisse mon prénom être le chant réconfortant qu’il a toujours été.
Prononce-le avec simplicité et naturel,
Sans aucune marque de regret.
La vie signifie tout ce qu’elle a toujours signifié.
Tout est toujours pareil, elle continue, le fil n’est pas rompu.
Qu’est-ce que la mort sinon un passage ?
Relativise et laisse couler toutes les agressions de la vie,
Pense et parle toujours de moi autour de toi et tu verras,
Tout ira bien.
Tu sais, je t’entends, je ne suis pas loin, Je suis là, juste de l’autre côté.
Mary Elizabeth Frye
Chantons la vie qui est dans ce que l’on voit, ce que l’on ne voit pas .. et qui nous regarde
Contrariar a regra de domingo « acordar sem despertador ». Contrariar para motivar e energizar corpo e mente ontem tão letárgicos, melancólicos e saudosos.
Encarar o dia momento a momento fazendo o que há a fazer. Engomar o monte de roupa há mais de uma semana exposto, transformar alimentos num belo e retemperador caldo, organizar a marmita do primeiro dia de mais uma semana que já não será « formalmente » de retiro mas quem dera que fosse. Caso para dizer « queria que estivesses aqui »… Limpar, arrumar, aprumar… Cuidar do corpo, conservando a mente.
Fica sempre algo por fazer. Há tanto por fazer. Para já, pede-me o espírito para só ficar. Aproveitar e desfrutar. Rever um filme que recorda uma grande história, beber bebidas quentes, aquecer os pés com uma manta, ver desvanecer apressado o dia.
Tantas vezes penso « wish you were here »… Tantas vezes injusta com quem está sempre aqui.
« I’m always here ».
E porque hoje é também dia de aniversário do grupo wildflower em Coimbra, acabarei o dia a celebrar o início feito por outros que também me trouxeram até aqui.