Heart of Life/Coeur de la vie: Day/Jour III

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Heart of Life/Coeur de la vie: Day/Jour III

Wish I didn’t have to write these posts first thing in the morning. I’d love to sit back and let the day unfold, then reflect on it all in the evening. But I need to let that go. It’s more important that I put something here to get our new retreat day started.

Today, I’m again filled with all that you’ve written these past two days, with the joy of sharing our lives, and I’m also filled with sadness after the deadly attack in New York yesterday. What does our practice mean amid it all?

I like Gary Snyder’s version of what Zen « practice » is: just sit down somewhere and really get to know the territory, become familiar with it, become intimate with it.  That place to sit down is right here; that territory is you, your whole life.

The point of this « practice, » Maezumi Roshi said, is intimacy.  « Appreciate your life, » he said. He didn’t say « like » your life (it’s not a Facebook post).  He said appreciate it. And to appreciate it, you have to know it. To know it, you have to study it.

Have a look today. How familiar are you with your life?

By | 2017-11-01T00:51:52+00:00 novembre 1st, 2017|Retraites au coeur de la vie, Textes|23 Comments

About the Author:

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Enseignante Zen et poète, Sensei Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell est née et a grandi à Minneapolis, aux Etats-Unis. Arrivée en France en 1981 pour étudier la littérature et l’histoire, elle y est restée, s’installant à Paris, où elle élève ses deux enfants et gagne sa vie en tant que journaliste. The Zen teacher and poet Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell Sensei was born and raised in Minneapolis, but came to France in 1981 to study literature and history and has lived in Paris ever since, raising her two children and making a living as a journalist.

23 Comments

  1. Giss-Laine Pinel 2 novembre 2017 at 21 h 33 min - Reply

    Ici c’est le soir, la soirée … Pratiques du matin au soir au matin etc .. en assise, en caressant Mioùshka la minette, en faisant des photocopies, en embrassant mon amoureux, en tapant ces quelques mots, en allumant le poêle, en sentant l’air frais sur la tête, en ressentant la peur, la colère, la joie, le plaisir, …
    dans le lieu sacré qu’est son espace de vie, palpable et infini.
    Lorsque je plante une fleur, est-ce que je la plante dans mon jardin ou bien dans le monde ?….
    Lorsque je sème des mots, où vont-ils pousser ?..

    Et de tout coeur avec les personnes qui souffrent en ce moment-même, qui viennent de perdre un être cher, qui ressentent l’injustice, l’angoisse, les larmes si chaudes qu’elles brûlent le regard…

    Très émue par cela et tout ce qui fait vie,
    je vous souhaite la confiance et salue celle qui est là et qui jaillit dans nos gestes quotidiens dont la pratique ..

    Drôme, France

  2. Theo 2 novembre 2017 at 8 h 34 min - Reply

    How familiar am I with my life?
    Doing this practice and due to the relationship I have with my teacher Iam getting more and more familiair with my life and I become more and more aware of myself, so that one day I can close the gap between myself and myself.
    To what does Maezumi Roshi is the meaning of this practice.

  3. Eduardo 2 novembre 2017 at 1 h 58 min - Reply

    Celebrating 30 years of companionship, five Argentinian friends met yesterday their death in a bike path in New York – I read it in the late news. In one stroke their lives were done because of blind, wholesale hate. Their butcher, a Daesh follower and victim of his own temporay hellish mind, survived after being shot. How much does this brutal event, likewise to many others happening everywhere and every minute, affect my life? Shocked as anyone who praises and is bewildered by the mistery of life itself, my being is unable to understand the oneness of its manifestation, the karmik laws that encompass and connect the celestial feeling of friendship and the infernal move to destroy it. I wish this retreat and our collective zazen may bring a glimpse of light upon this unbearable conundrum.
    Lachrimae, Jordi Savall and Hespérion XX’s life concert, inspired by the paintings of Caravaggio, may meanwhile be a sort of solace. I have been listening to it while I wrote this note.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjmDVAi91UE

  4. M a j e d 2 novembre 2017 at 0 h 14 min - Reply

    23:00 pratique assise
    Connaitre le territoire c’est avoir le courage de l’explorer dans les moindres recoins y compris dans les zones d’ombre. Observer les douleurs qui surgissent dans le corps, la tendance à se réfugier dans sa tête, à échapper à l’observation, ou à s’anesthésier, la peur de souffrir, la non-envie de vivre sa vie…
    Observer malgré l’envie de s’échapper renforce le courage et m’entraine à affronter le territoire extérieur qui n’est que le reflet de ce que je n’ose affronter dans le territoire intérieur.

  5. Sophie 2 novembre 2017 at 0 h 04 min - Reply

    Apprécier – précieux, je crois que je n’avais pas fait le rapprochement entre les deux mots…
    Se familiariser avec ce qui est précieux, unique: sacré.
    Se familiariser: comme un zoom depuis une grande distance avec ce qui est étranger jusqu’à devenir très proche, un.
    Je sais comment je peux me familiariser avec un lieu inconnu comme une chambre d’hôtel qui devient connue, ou un visage inconnu, ou une odeur,
    je sais comme je me suis familiarisée avec Lina la femme aux deux tabliers…
    je ne sais pas si je sais comment me familiariser avec « moi »…ou peut-être je ne sais pas, là, mettre en mots..

  6. Juan 1 novembre 2017 at 23 h 32 min - Reply

    Today was a quiet holiday, spent with the family, ended with a stroll on the beach after visiting the local aquarium.

    Yesterday I heard on Youtube a lecture about Steven’s Pressfield book « The War of Art » in short words it talks about the internal and external hindrances we face when we decide to move forward, to evolve.

    Here and there, small brushstrokes that paint our life. Either become intimate or appreciate, or as I think I read on one of Genpo’s books « we make space for life around us when we sit »

  7. Helena 1 novembre 2017 at 23 h 23 min - Reply

    Viseu, Portugal

    My life… I know yesterday mais ó menos, for sure a couple things would do them differently if given the chance, I don’t know the future and striving in today to be the best I can be. I have come to realise that life is much easier when I am grateful. Sometimes I am trying to force it in the direction I want or think is better but then as having a mind of its own life decides to go its way 🙂
    Most of all I am grateful and trying to Be.
    Be present
    Be happy
    Be grateful
    Be in love

    Hugs

  8. Telma 1 novembre 2017 at 23 h 13 min - Reply

    Recém-chegada a Coimbra. Regresso à terra sem campas com entes meus para visitar.
    À minha frente o bule do chá sobre o suporte com uma vela que o mantém aquecido, os meus pés que marcam o limite das minhas pernas esticadas sobre a mesa cobertas pela manta, a TV que faz entretenimento com o sofrimento dos outros e do planeta (incêndios, seca, terrorismo, extinção da liberdade em nome da manutenção da segurança individual e nacional, …), um livro de Dino Buzzati e os headphones.
    Do lado direito os vidros das janelas reflectindo a luz na escuridão exterior.
    Do lado esquerdo o telemóvel é recarregado, a chávena do chá sobre a base de cortiça vai a meio do chá príncipe, e a pilha de livros e revistas por ler e a ler.
    Atrás uma janela de estore corrido escondendo a planta que cresce a olhos vistos e embeleza à vista de quem espreita lá fora.
    O ponto de referência a estes quatro pontos « cardeais », a que chamarei centro, sou e estou.
    Ser madrugador na hora de deitar e de acordar, de métodos e disciplina, amante e dependente de luz, introvertido, comunicativo é excessivamente pensador… Questionador.
    Ser em permanente conflito com o que ainda deve ser. Ser insuficiente para um mundo que está tão carente mas pratica a individualidade e autonomia. Ser paradoxal, em permanente conflito.
    Ser contemplativo e reflexivo e curioso e atento e desajeitado com a sua maior intenção : Ser Paz.
    Em fevereiro em terras francesas falei com um mestre sobre « intimacy ». O sentar, é construir esta intimidade, este profundo conhecer.
    Intimidade é um verbo. Sem praticar e sem tentar uma e outra e outra e outra vez… Não existe.
    Afinal, mais importante que aceitar o que É, é tentar uma e outra vez a intenção que nos move.
    Não me preocupa a intimidade com a minha vida. E a intimidade com a vida dos outros?

  9. Susanne 1 novembre 2017 at 22 h 57 min - Reply

    Again good night from Hamburg after a « too full with work » day. I appreciated the moment on the huge field, my steps in big boots through wet gras, the tall trees of the allee changing their coulour slightly, walking and frisbeeing Caraldo – now he is dreaming, making some funny noises …
    Tired and exhausted – bed is calling

  10. Christine 1 novembre 2017 at 22 h 28 min - Reply

    Another quiet, peaceful day is getting to its end.
    This morning the boys wanted to work in garden like yesterday morning. I had much less energy as we had worked a lot the day before, but they didn’t want to hear my arguments that today was a holiday, that I was tired from yesterday etc. So we continued to cut what needed to be cut. The sun was shining again and I just worked at a slower pace which was fine. After a good meal that I didn’t have to prepare we all had a nap or quiet time with reading. Before sunset we went for a walk with our 71 year-old neighbour and his dogs « Craquotte » and « Alladin ». We met him a few days ago when he walked his dogs and since then we join him for his evening walk. He seems to enjoy our company and the boys love to run in the wineyards with the dogs.
    How familiar am I with my life… it makes me think of some reactive patterns I sometimes have, where I just repeat a familiar way of responding instead of being present to the here and now and try to react from a not familiar place.
    Yes, Maezumi, you’re so right. I appreciate my life. I feel grateful for living in a rather peaceful place on this planet and to be able to enjoy the birds’ song and my children’s laughter on a sunny autumn day.

  11. Filipa 1 novembre 2017 at 21 h 57 min - Reply

    Lisbon, Portugal. How familiar am I with my life? Oh. That’s a difficult question. I’m now completely confused. I guess, or better, I feel I’m going in the right direction. Since I’ve been trying to do things in a new way, for me. I more often realize when I’m not going in the right path. So that sounds good to me. And I also more often realize, sooner, when I’ve gotten myself into something which isn’t good. And that’s not perfect, but definitely better than before. So, in conclusion, I’m listening to myself more often and I guess that’s a good way to get familiar with me and my life. Aha! 🙂

  12. Perfect Way 1 novembre 2017 at 19 h 32 min - Reply

    How well do I know my Life? — Difficult to grasp what « life » is even before enquiring if I know it. Where does it start, this « my life »? when I was born, nine months earlier, when my parents were born, when their parents’ parents wer born? And where does life end? when I die? How can I grasp this? How can one look into life from not knowing its limits, shape, colour and say: « I know it well. » What if life is life-now and life-death and life-here… What separates « my-life » from « your-life »? Is there even a separation? Trying to reach the limits of life in order to see its limits and form brought me back here and now and to how life is seamless and without trace. There is nothing to hold on to and say « this is life, this is my life ». So how well do I know it?! I wonder. I wonder whether life just « is » and what we call my and your are only perspectives of the same « thing », different aspects of the same whole, that has no seams or leaves no trace. It comes to that first day’s teaching, what is the expression of a single moment? Tha expression is me drinking tea or fixing pots, it is others sitting and walking or cycling, it is a man driving a van onto a cyclists’ road. In seeing this I feel hurt. Our life is the same with fears and ignorance. It starts when we get up from the cushion. How well do I know my life?!? Not.A.Clue.

  13. Joël H. 1 novembre 2017 at 18 h 42 min - Reply

    Courte lecture du livre « L’entraînement de l’esprit » de Chogyam Trungpa : maxime 27 (sur 59) :
    « Travaille d’abord sur les plus grandes souillures »

    Dans le petit coin autel de mon petit bureau, je m’installe pour mon shikantaza du soir …

    Gasshô

  14. Guillaume 1 novembre 2017 at 18 h 19 min - Reply

    Today is a holiday and I’ve stayed at home. In the morning I went to get a coffee at a nice café around the corner, like I often do on week-ends, with a book. A waitress recognized me as I stepped in and said hello familiarly, saying « tu » instead of the usual « vous ». A bold and courageous move which destabilized my social stance. I swiftly reajusted to this new ground and encouraged her by asking for a coffee on the same friendly level, « s’il te plaît ». They serve very good coffee that is roasted in Belleville, in Paris. I drank with Dogen and master Okumura for companions, reading master Okumura’s commentary on the Genjokoan. Some music was playing in the background, not too loud, but enough that it and the ambiant agitation of the place impacted my focusing on the rather complex text. In half an hour my mug was empty. I’ve read no more than a couple of pages. I get up tell the waitress that I’m leaving the money on the counter. I was still readapting to this new social landscape, reiterating the use of the familiar « tu » like one relearns to walk after an accident, unsure of their own movements. I thanked her, we wished each other a good day, and I left.

  15. Joanne 1 novembre 2017 at 18 h 17 min - Reply

    I feel sadnesses today and accept these feelings deeply. I miss my brother who died 9 years ago. I accept the sounds and turbulence of a violent neighbourhood argument, of terrible desperate pleading, accusations and suffering, during afternoon sitting and continuing on and on afterwards. I let everything just be. Earlier I shared lunch with a dear friend and her 6 month old baby. He stays in my mind – His fat rosy cheeks and wet lips, his chubby uncoordinated fingers determinedly squashing saliva soaked, soggy toast into and around his mouth Teething, squally, smiling, delighted one moment, betrayed by some shift in comfort the next. Gorgeous, beautiful, radiant child. The argument outside in the street stops. Evening meditation is a play called The Hartlepool Monkey. Now meditation is my toes are cold and I’ll put my socks back on.

  16. Joël H. 1 novembre 2017 at 16 h 32 min - Reply

    Hier soir, zazen un peu « volontariste » pensais-je, mu par ma volonté d’être avec vous en méditation, en retraite.

    Mais, conséquence?, loi de cause à effet?, un somme profond, un lever guilleret suivi d’une petite séance de Qi gong et d’un bon zazen matinal. Une journée bâtie sur de saines fondations!

    Envie et projet d’écrire mais changement de priorités: la méteo annonçant des entrées maritimes, ici dans l’Herault, je me suis décidé à commencer l’élagage d’arbustes de mon jardin avant que la pluie n’arrive, ce soir ou demain. Saint et sain samu interrompu d’un bavardage social avec une voisine et le passage d’un copain du village.

    Déjeuner tardif. Le projet envisagé ce matin avec Martine d’aller voir une expo Bacon au musée de Montpellier va probablement être reporté en ce milieu d’après-midi. Bonne prévision: à l’instant où j’écris cette ligne Martine me dit qu’il est maintenant un peu tard et qu’elle va continuer à travailler dans le jardin.
    Pour ma part je sens, comme souvent à cette heure-ci, une baisse d’énergie physique associée, cause ou conséquence?, à une avidité croissante pour tout ce que je voudrais faire avant que cette journée s’achève, tant qu’il me reste encore des forces au crépuscule de ma vie. Alors essayons d’observer cette avidité tout en regardant le ciel se voiler peu à peu des brumes maritimes entrantes…

    Cool Joël ,cool, la vie est belle et précieuse.
    Et un beau cadeau pour vous et pour moi : cette citation de mon vieil ami Henri (Michaux):
    « La vie, aussi vite que tu l’utilises, s’écoule s’en va, longue seulement à qui sait errer, paresser. A la veille de sa mort l’homme d’action et de travail s’aperçoit – trop tard- de la naturelle longueur de la vie, de celle qu’il lui eût été possible de connaître lui aussi, si seulement il avait su de continuelles interventions s’abstenir. »

  17. Tania 1 novembre 2017 at 16 h 01 min - Reply

    I’ve just finished a lunch time mindfulness /meditation group ( I say group only one other cane today… ). Stepping outside for the first tine this morning headed for supervision I smell the air and see small wild strawberries and daylight!

  18. Lara 1 novembre 2017 at 14 h 25 min - Reply

    Olá from London. Trying to be present all day. Be intimate with what is there now. It’s lunch time and everyone runs to grab their sandwich. I decided to pause. Found a quiet small restaurant and I am enjoying my lunch and reading my book.

  19. M a j e d 1 novembre 2017 at 11 h 42 min - Reply

    10:43 pratique assise (tardive)
    Météo extérieure : ciel ensoleillé et température fraiche à Charleville-Mézières, Ardennes, France.
    Météo intérieure : agitée, avec risque de se faire emporter par le courant des pensées.
    Apprécier sa vie, c’est estimer sa valeur. En évaluer le côté précieux. Notre vie est une suite d’instants, une suite d’inspirations et d’expirations. Apprécier ma vie c’est apprécier chaque souffle. En connaitre la valeur et le vivre avec présence. Ne pas considérer mon souffle comme acquis. C’est le souffle qui me traverse tout comme la vie. Le même souffle vous traverse tous en ce moment, traverse les passants dans la rue, les animaux dans l’abattoir (en ce Wolrd Vegan Day j’ai une pensée particulière à la souffrance animale), le moineau sur l’arbre,… Apprécier sa vie, c’est apprécier tout ce qui vit et s’y relier.
    La violence et la haine qui éclatent dans le monde, ne sont que la traduction en actes de l’expérience intérieure d’une personne ou d’un groupe d’individus. La violence et la haine sont à l’intérieur de chacun de nous. Notre pratique de juste nous assoir et apprécier notre vie prend pleinement tout son sens dans ce genre d’événements.

  20. Carole 1 novembre 2017 at 10 h 03 min - Reply

    Morning. Yesterday, I read an old article in Maezumi Roshi in which he said ‘Our life is a life of constant change. Dogen Zenji says our life changes 6,500,000 times per day. And yet, each moment is one unbroken movement. This is the action in which life is maintained.’ Today I am going to try to be more intimate with the changes, watch the unfolding. It is a busy work day starting now and ending with a book event for 3,000 people and a comedy show for the same number, ending around 10:30. Not much time for formal practice today so I going to instead vow to try to be present to each moment, to embrace the changes one at a time and not get overwhelmed by the length of the day of the scale of some of what is required. My neck is sore from lying on the Church floor last night for sound healing (!). I am including my neck, the noises on the train as I write, the big meeting I have in an hour. I am going to try to be with the instants and not generalise and miss my actual life. Have a good day averyone. Thanks, Roshi. X

  21. Giss-Laine Pinel 1 novembre 2017 at 9 h 50 min - Reply

    Bon Jour à chacune et chacun * Le soleil dehors, les flammes du poêle dedans, l’air sur la peau, l’air que j’inspire. Et nous tous, Respirant Ensemble. Diffusant nos expirations à tout vent, dans le même carré, le même cercle, la même vie.

    Respirer … agrandir sa respiration et ressentir plus vastement le monde, ressentir la ville, les ruisseaux, les tigres, les tchaï, la pisse dans les rues, les colliers de perles, la paille, la fumée, le vers de terre, les saisons différentes dans le monde au même instant, ….
    Oui, apprécier c’est-à-dire ressentir la vie, ‘sa’ vie. La goûter telle quelle, l’épouser telle quelle.
    Merci Amy, Merci à vous

    Giss-Laine Pinel, RecouBeau (Drôme 26, France)

  22. Tania 1 novembre 2017 at 8 h 19 min - Reply

    I join you in feeling sadness on hearing of the deadly attack in New York.
    Acknowledging the completeness of my life seems not always so easy.
    Being able to include all, not denying anything , to be open to look at anything that presents itself….how do I live?
    Last night sitting with you all the topic of TRust was our theme for the talking circle.
    Reading your posts and practicing together I experience a sense of embracing and a deepening intimacy of my life.

  23. Sophie 1 novembre 2017 at 8 h 18 min - Reply

    Bonjour Amy, bonjour ceux qui liront et les autres, j’hésite et décide d’écrire ici ma « réponse » à l’invitation d’Amy hier.
    « Sanctuaire » ce mot est lourd pour moi et confus, je choisis, parmi plusieurs, une définition qui me va bien dans ce jour 2:
    « lieu sacré », dans la continuité du sacré du jour 1.
    Lieu-espace sacré, au coeur, de notre vie, de nous-même, du carré, du cercle…
    …je suis profondément touchée de lire le même Un au centre du carré qu’au centre des cercles de paroles,
    et soudain en ce petit matin où le soleil face à moi vient de se lever au dessus de la majestueuse chaîne des Pyrennées,
    je revois-revis le centre du rectangle à Auschwitz où nous sommes Un avec tous ceux qui ne sont plus.
    Je me sens coeur à coeur avec cette femme au double tablier.

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