It’s so inspiring be here. Time passes slowly, the sun sliding gracefully across the sky, the clock ticking on the wall of the yoga room, the phases of the day unfolding gradually. No one is in a hurry. Last week, I was literally running from one meeting to the next. This morning, I finished my breakfast, hung around talking and laughing with new friends for what seemed like a long time, and I still have an hour free before our dharma talk at 9:30.
I never have this kind of leisurely pace. Here, even when we’re doing something like yoga or meditation or eating or walking or reading, we’re doing it mindfully, and time takes on a different dimension.
Here it is a holiday weekend and time is not flying by. (Bonus!)
With this kind of time, you get new perspectives, new ideas for ways of being. We’ve been discussing the concept of generosity and giving vs, receiving; we’re in a mindset of receiving. I receive the birds flickering by outside my window, this simple room, a slice of steaming bread just delivered. I receive the lighthearted company of new friends, a full belly, shivasana. In this mindset, we all clear each other’s dishes, offer to get each other a cup of tea, walk together in silence to 5am meditation. In a mindset of receiving, you have more to give.
Meditation this morning was better although I still feel like such a bumbling newbie in the zendo. Getting to my zafu I have down. Sitting for 40 minutes was good, I was on my knees and pretty comfortable. My mind was serene. I listened to moisture falling off the trees and hitting the roof. I heard the frog anthems give way to birds. I heard people around me sniffling and repositioning.
We transitioned into walking meditation and a nun had to redirect me as I was going in the wrong direction.
During the second meditation, I was more restless, I repositioned a lot to avoid the panic and impulse to run away (my teachers laughed yesterday when i asked about this and agreed that torture is not the point). Amazing how quickly my brain goes there when discomfort arises. But the posture clinic and the intense yoga yesterday have me looser, more forgiving, less perfectionist.
Then we segued into chanting and prostration where I was truly lost and a kindly older man pointed me to the right place in the prayer book. It’s good to be new at something and let the wise ones guide you. Lots of bowing. Glad it’s about the Buddha and not some weird California cult.
Coincidentally, there’s an SMC here who I met last summer. She is pregnant–after a failed IVF, she went back to IUIs. We keep catching each other on the way to meals and then get cut off as we observe ten minutes of silence at the beginning of meals. Somehow I think we both only want to go there in smaller doses, which seems appropriate here.
There was a yoga pose yesterday where we laid on a bolster going the length of our spine with the bottoms of our feet together and knees resting on zafus, arms splayed out. To me it felt like, “Here’s my uterus, universe! Ready to receive!” We held the pose for twenty minutes.