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Monthly Archives: January 2018

Deer Park Journal: Day 6

2018 Deer Park Daily Musings
Written during a retreat I attended from January 5th-26th, 2018

Background Info & Terminology: Deer Park Monastery is rooted in the mindfulness tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and is situated in Escondido, CA, north of San Diego.

Laypeople: Also called lay friends or laymen and laywomen; those of us who practice in this tradition but are not monks or nuns.
Monastics: The collective group of both monks and nuns.
Clarity Hamlet: Where the nuns, also called Sisters, reside. Laywomen stay here as well.
Solidity Hamlet: Where the monks, also called Brothers, reside. Laymen and couples/families stay here as well.
Thay: Refers to Thich Nhat Hanh, meaning “teacher” in Vietnamese

 

Thursday, January 11th 2018

Day 6

6:35pm

Early morning haiku:

A smile of moon
hangs in the sky and my heart
alighting what’s there

_______

Today was lay day – and consequently, also, monastic day – where the lay people from both hamlets have their own schedule together, separate from the monastics (the monks & nuns), who have their own program schedule all together, for the morning up until lunch, anyway.

So at 5:45am, the lay people from both hamlets gathered in the Small Hall here in Solidity for sitting meditation. Unexpectedly, instead of having a silent sitting session, as usual, one of the long term lay women staying in Clarity wound up offering a guided meditation during our sit. For about 20-25 minutes, she proceeded to lead us through what amounted to a sort of classic style deep relaxation, moving through all the parts of the body as it went on. As it was an unanticipated occurrence – and given the fact that I don’t much care for guided meditations in general – I found her voice disturbing to what I consider to be my most beloved friend here: silence.

As her meditation continued, she seemed to grow more comfortable in talking, as well. What started out as short, succinct phrases began carrying into rather long, rambling verses, further absorbing what little space she left in between her words for a sound of the bell and a few relieving moments of quietude, before she’d start talking again. It was a struggle for me. Unable to tune her out and enter into a fluid state of meditation, I opened my eyes and took up the practice of smiling, as I observed my mind throwing a temper tantrum at not being able to sit in silence. Ah, preferences.

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Deer Park Journal: Day 5

2018 Deer Park Daily Musings
Written during a retreat I attended from January 5th-26th, 2018

Background Info & Terminology: Deer Park Monastery is rooted in the mindfulness tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and is situated in Escondido, CA, north of San Diego.

Laypeople: Also called lay friends or laymen and laywomen; those of us who practice in this tradition but are not monks or nuns.
Monastics: The collective group of both monks and nuns.
Clarity Hamlet: Where the nuns, also called Sisters, reside. Laywomen stay here as well.
Solidity Hamlet: Where the monks, also called Brothers, reside. Laymen and couples/families stay here as well.
Thay: Refers to Thich Nhat Hanh, meaning “teacher” in Vietnamese

Wednesday, January 10th 2018

Day 5

6:36pm

Early morning haiku:

Tea is a delight
in the morning before dawn
I smile and breathe

_______

I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed having so few decisions to make during the course of my stay here, until I saw on the white board at dinner that we had a choice of whether to attend the Venerable’s Class tonight at 7:30pm or sitting/walking/chanting at 8:00pm. Had it simply listed the Venerable’s Class at 7:30pm, I would’ve gone without hesitation. But a choice? Hmmm. What to do?! After checking in with myself, the answer became clear. Sitting meditation it is!

This morning after breakfast, the lay folk gathered in the Small Hall to watch a video Dharma talk from Thay. It was a talk he gave at Plum Village in June of 2004, on the four layers of consciousness. As taking notes helps me to stay focused, here are some notes I jotted down:

We can learn how to walk like a Buddha, mindfully. To enjoy every step – no fighting, no effort.

When we know how our mind operates, our consciousness operates, it’s easier for us to enjoy our practice. The four layers of consciousness are: Sense consciousness (5 senses), Mind consciousness, (Manas) Cogitation, and Store consciousness.

Body and mind are two aspects of the same thing – this is very important to understand. We need to remove the dualistic thinking that mind and body are separate. Mental activity – thinking, worrying, planning – uses a lot of energy. If you want to conserve energy, don’t think too much, don’t worry too much, don’t plan too much.

Impermanence is one of the marks of reality.

We have to take care of our store consciousness, because that’s where the decisions are being made. Store consciousness is like the hard drive on your computer and mind consciousness is like the computer screen.

_______

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Deer Park Journal, Day 4

2018 Deer Park Daily Musings
Written during a retreat I attended from January 5th-26th, 2018

Background Info & Terminology: Deer Park Monastery is rooted in the mindfulness tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and is situated in Escondido, CA, north of San Diego.

Laypeople: Also called lay friends or laymen and laywomen; those of us who practice in this tradition but are not monks or nuns.
Monastics: The collective group of both monks and nuns.
Clarity Hamlet: Where the nuns, also called Sisters, reside. Laywomen stay here as well.
Solidity Hamlet: Where the monks, also called Brothers, reside. Laymen and couples/families stay here as well.
Thay: Refers to Thich Nhat Hanh, meaning “teacher” in Vietnamese

Tuesday, January 9th 2018

Day 4

6:30pm

Early morning haiku:

Rain, an honored guest
graces the land with support
to grow and flourish

________

Last night, our “Joyful Gathering” meeting wound up being a dharma sharing group with an emphasis on sharing our joys. We had so many lay folks that we wound up breaking up into two different groups. Mike led our group in the tea room. There were about 15 of us. (There are around 25-30 of us lay folk here in Solidity and I am one of only 3 or 4 women, as Solidity is designated for the Brothers, lay men, and couples and families.)

One man, here from Mexico with his wife, shared that when he pays attention, he sees clearly that he is in love with his wife but that oftentimes he doesn’t pay attention and gets swept up in petty annoyances. When he pays attention, he said, the song lyric: every little thing she does is magic comes to mind. I found his sharing so very touching. It spoke to me deeply.

Someone else shared about their joy for the rain – which began falling late afternoon yesterday and has persisted without reprieve through the night and most of today. They called it a welcomed and honored guest (hence the inspiration for my morning haiku). How delightful that someone should share this sentiment! So often we don’t hold the rain – or any inclement weather – in any sort of high regard. So his joy of the rain was music to my ears, much like the sound of the pitter patter of the water has been for much of the day.

Our schedule today was as follows:
5:00am Wake Up
5:45-6:30am Sitting Meditation
7:30am Breakfast
9:00am Class (for lay friends)
11:00am Outdoor Walking Meditation
12:00pm Lunch
3:00pm Working Meditation
5:30pm Dinner
8:00pm Sitting Meditation & Chanting

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Deer Park Journal, Day 3

2018 Deer Park Daily Musings
Written during a retreat I attended from January 5th-26th, 2018

Background Info & Terminology: Deer Park Monastery is rooted in the mindfulness tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and is situated in Escondido, CA, north of San Diego.

Laypeople: Also called lay friends or laymen and laywomen; those of us who practice in this tradition but are not monks or nuns.
Monastics: The collective group of both monks and nuns.
Clarity Hamlet: Where the nuns, also called Sisters, reside. Laywomen stay here as well.
Solidity Hamlet: Where the monks, also called Brothers, reside. Laymen and couples/families stay here as well.
Thay: Refers to Thich Nhat Hanh, meaning “teacher” in Vietnamese

Monday, January 8th 2018

Day 3

6:12pm

Lazy Day. Meaning we had no schedule except for meals. Well, meals and something at 7:30pm tonight in the tea room for the laypeople called “Joyful Gathering,” as it’s listed on the white board.

Early this morning, when I entered the tea room, I found it to be in a state of mild disarray. So I took to doing a bit of cleaning and tidying up. All of the tea cups were dirty and there were no clean ones left to be used. And even though I have my own cup, I thought it a good idea to fetch some fresh ones. So I hefted a tray of 30-40 dirty cups to the dining hall and loaded up a new batch. I did some sweeping and filled the hot water dispenser and rounded up all the empty water bottles and took them where they needed to go to be refilled. It was satisfying work and I was glad to do it.

I especially enjoyed noticing the progress I’ve made in regards to such matters. It used to be that I resigned myself to feeling like a victim when cleaning up after others, namely my husband. I felt as though I had to do it. And because of that, I loathed the responsibility of it. It was a weight, a burden, and an unpleasant task. Thankfully, I’ve since learned that everything is a choice. There is virtually no action that I take that is heaped upon me against my will. I am the captain of my own ship and I decide where to steer it. How freeing! Now, I practice to clean up after others for truthfully what it is: an active choice I make – and if I don’t want to do it, I don’t do it. And if I do decide to do it, I practice to enjoy what I’m doing in the midst of it. Because that’s the essence of the practice: to connect with and enjoy whatever it is we’re doing. To fully engage and participate in our own lives – whether we’re cleaning the bathroom or chopping vegetables or carting wood or grocery shopping or driving to work… The practice is not found in the meditation hall – the practice is anywhere and everywhere we find ourselves in roam.

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Deer Park Journal, Day 2

2018 Deer Park Daily Musings
Written during a retreat I attended from January 5th-26th, 2018

Background Info & Terminology: Deer Park Monastery is rooted in the mindfulness tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and is situated in Escondido, CA, north of San Diego.

Laypeople: Also called lay friends or laymen and laywomen; those of us who practice in this tradition but are not monks or nuns.
Monastics: The collective group of both monks and nuns.
Clarity Hamlet: Where the nuns, also called Sisters, reside. Laywomen stay here as well.
Solidity Hamlet: Where the monks, also called Brothers, reside. Laymen and couples/families stay here as well.
Thay: Refers to Thich Nhat Hanh, meaning “teacher” in Vietnamese

 

NOTE: I will plan on posting 2-days worth of daily journal entries per day, until all 3-weeks are uploaded here

Sunday, January 7th 2018

Day 2

7:10pm

Written early this morning, in the tea room:

My attention is held differently here – smaller matters fetch its whim and fancy.

Morning haikus:

A bug settles near.
It is the whole universe.
It is everything!

In the pond, a splash!
Do coy jump? I don’t think so.
But, what was it then?!

I can never have enough reminders for what it means to be truly and magnificently alive. I can never witness too much beauty or be filled with too much gratitude. I can never see the radiance of the moon too many times or smell too many fragrant flowers. I can never meet my quota for sharing company with sweet, kind people. I can never hear too many crow or raven calls or coyotes howling in the hills. I can never watch the sunrise too many times. I can never water too many wholesome seeds. I can’t imagine ever falling out of love with the written word. And I can never absorb too many splendors that life has to offer.

_________

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Deer Park Journal, Day 1

2018 Deer Park Daily Musings
Written during a retreat I attended from January 5th-26th, 2018

Background Info & Terminology: Deer Park Monastery is rooted in the mindfulness tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and is situated in Escondido, CA, north of San Diego.

Laypeople: Also called lay friends or laymen and laywomen; those of us who practice in this tradition but are not monks or nuns.
Monastics: The collective group of both monks and nuns.
Clarity Hamlet: Where the nuns, also called Sisters, reside. Laywomen stay here as well.
Solidity Hamlet: Where the monks, also called Brothers, reside. Laymen and couples/families stay here as well.
Thay: Refers to Thich Nhat Hanh, meaning “teacher” in Vietnamese

Saturday, January 6th 2018

Day 1

6:13pm

3:35am Haiku:

A tender silence
gives rise to a new morning
this is nothing new

Written at 4:31am:

The hum buzzing of the mini fridge has broken the silence in the darkened loveliness of early morning, here in the tea room. I just finished reading the introduction of Jack Kornfield’s book: “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry,” and above where I am writing is situated a wooden sign that reads something in Vietnamese, so artfully scribed that I am unable to decipher all of the lettering. Until just a moment ago, when I put on my glasses, I thought it said: It’s now. And, as it seems as good a message as any, and highly plausible at this given junction, I’ll just go right on assuming that’s still what it says.

________

I come here on retreat to Deer Park to befriend myself in a concentrated fashion – and I realized today, that while solitude is a vital component for me, in order to befriend ALL the parts of myself, I need to be in the company of others. I need others to show me where I rub up against inner points of friction. Because it’s relatively easy for things to be all hunky dory when I’m by myself alone, in charge of my time and able to craft just the right external conditions of comfort and pleasure. But here on retreat at DP is the ripest opportunity I know to spend time with myself whilst amid others, in an intentional, guided, and focused way. So, this is a unique chance for me to strengthen my solidity, ease, and joy – to grow ever more comfortable in my own skin.

Our schedule today was as follows:

5:00am Wake Up
5:45-6:30am Sitting Meditation
7:30am Breakfast
9:00am Orientation for New Arrivals
11:00am Outdoor Walking Meditation
12:00pm Lunch
3:00pm Working Meditation
5:30pm Dinner
8:00pm Sitting Meditation & Chanting

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Deer Park Journal, Arrival Day

2018 Deer Park Daily Musings
Written during a retreat I attended from January 5th-26th, 2018

Background Info & Terminology: Deer Park Monastery is rooted in the mindfulness tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and is situated in Escondido, CA, north of San Diego.

Laypeople: Also called lay friends or laymen and laywomen; those of us who practice in this tradition but are not monks or nuns.
Monastics: The collective group of both monks and nuns.
Clarity Hamlet: Where the nuns, also called Sisters, reside. Laywomen stay here as well.
Solidity Hamlet: Where the monks, also called Brothers, reside. Laymen and couples/families stay here as well.
Thay: Refers to Thich Nhat Hanh, meaning “teacher” in Vietnamese

_____

Friday, January 5th 2018

Arrival Day

6:23pm

I awoke at 3:00am. Our lovely friend & airport ride, Linds, picked us up at 4:30am. Our flight left Missoula at 6:00am and by 10:00am, Pacific Time, I could smell the salt water on the sun soaked breeze. We had traded 16 degrees and snow for 70 degrees and blue skies. It felt…strange – as though things weren’t quite right in the universe, to have winter equate to such warmthitude.

I wrote this in my journal on the first leg of our flight:

A string stitched to my heart, anchors down below in town as we fly off. I feel the tension of it pulling taught, as though I were a kite being held in nimble fingers, grasped firm so as not to flitter off.

 And some of us are already fast asleep. Some are reading and some, like the two in front of me, are becoming friends. We’re all going somewhere: home or on a temporary stay. We’re all in this together, too, strapped on this wild ride.

My silhouette – framed in the darkened porthole window – keeps me company in flight. Row 20, seat A, the last stop in the back of this metal bird.

Sky cracking open with pale blues and streaks of fire reds. And then, things change quickly! Blackness returns. A sea of unknowing fills my view and I am plunged back into myself. We are forever made or broken by the presence of absence of the light – and sometimes, both happen at the same time.

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Posted by on January 28, 2018 in Deer Park Monastery

 

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