Good morning, fellow retreat participants. This is our « last » day in the heart of life. Give it all you’ve got!

What a funny concept that is: « the last day in the heart of life. » D.T. Suzuki said that concepts like that and conceptual thought in general are like scaffolding that we construct around our moment-to-moment experience of the endless work-in-progress of things as they are, « just this. » We’re all accustomed to seeing scaffolding (échafaudage en français) in front of work-in-progress construction sites everywhere. There are even decorative pictures and advertisements adorning all that scaffolding.

That is also what we do all the time in our lives, constructing ideas (scaffolding) and embellishing them more and more, until we can’t even see anymore what is the work-in-progress we’re masking.

So what is that work-in-progress? And what is the scaffolding you build?

Now as I sit at my desk, on Friday morning with the cat and tea once again, I’m recalling my work-in-progress yesterday at the refugee center here in Paris. (In honor of that place, I’m posting a photo of it here.) I spent much of the time at the center’s clothing « store, » handing out new clothing to the young men who needed it. Everyone seemed to want something; I just kept giving and giving and giving as they just kept coming and coming and coming. We joked and laughed together, it was a fine afternoon, and when it was time for me to leave, I left. I said goodbye and went home. But they didn’t go home. I try not to forget that. And I try not to build scaffolding around that tragic fact and what it says about our world.