(written on June 12th, 2012)
Mike stayed in lower hamlet again last night. I had a restless night’s sleep leaving me so tired that after the morning program I crawled into my bunk, went back to sleep and skipped breakfast. I woke up just in time to catch the shuttle to upper hamlet where I curled up on my cushion in the dharma hall with my head on Mike’s lap and slept for the first half of the dharma talk. I found it much more enjoyable to sleep, since my body was in such need of it, and wake up refreshed and engaged rather than fight against the tiredness and be half awake. At first I felt a little strange falling asleep amidst a sea of people while Thay gave a talk but I was able to let that go and embrace self care. Thay said that showing up and sleeping through a dharma talk is better than showing up with your intellect so I guess it could’ve been worse :)
Here are some of the notes I took during Thay’s dharma talk (the part I was awake for) on June 12th:
“We consume with our ears, eyes, tongue – there can be many toxins in books, magazines, tv, internet, music. Many of us feel lonely, we consume to fill in a hole. When you consume a dharma talk there’s no toxin. There are many things to consume without toxins. Walking meditation is also consumption. If we have consumption without mindfulness we are not protected. We need the 5th mindfulness training. The world is sick. The suffering of the body brings about the suffering of the mind and the suffering of the mind brings about the suffering of the body.
Four nutriments: food, sense impressions, volition and consciousness. Volition – we have to be fresh, patient and armed with non-fear. Our motivation should be with compassion and understanding. Not to punish. Consciousness – even if you don’t want to consume you consume, (there is a) collective energy of the group. You have to be very careful. Is it toxic or not? What do we surround ourselves with?”
I just had lunch with a young woman from a newly formed Wake Up sangha in Brooklyn who wanted to know all about Be Here Now. It felt nice to share about our mountain sangha. I realized Be Here Now has a lot to offer the Wake Up movement. During lunch we sat in the old meditation hall called Dharma Nectar and listened to loud claps of thunder. It has been raining off and on for the last 2 days. The clothes I washed yesterday morning are hanging in the cherry barn and have not dried even a little bit.
Yesterday my base of calm and ease was shaken in our adventure to town but I feel it returning again. I am finding it more difficult to keep my practice strong when together with Mike. It’s very easy for me to fall into habits and patterns and old ways of thinking. This time to myself, with myself has been very valuable. There’s no one to care for but me – how unusual!
The setting sun is shining through the stained glass window in the dharma hall casting colors of orange, yellow, marigold, rose, cream and copper. I sit in its shadow thinking: I am a woman, but I do not resonate with that title. I love to write and to dance but would not answer to the labels of writer or dancer. If someone says I am beautiful I bow my head or lower my eyes and wear a smile that dissuades their notion. What am I then? What am I outside of the warm embrace of the sun, what am I outside of the quivering oak tree leaves in the winds of June, what am I outside of the gentle smile of a passerby or the melody of a song, what am I other than you? I am captured in the fragments of 10,000 colors, in every tear of water that penetrates the earth, and on every call of joy that burns like an ember in the hearts of man. I am a woman, a writer, a dancer and beautiful. Just as the in breath accompanies the out breath I am also none of these descriptions. I am everything, everywhere, everyone. I am nothing, nowhere, no one.