(NOTES: Here is some lingo info that may be helpful in reading these posts. Deer Park Monastery is in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who is often referred to as Thay. The monks who reside at Deer Park are called Brothers and the nuns are called Sisters. The sisters reside in Clarity Hamlet and the brothers reside in Solidity Hamlet, about a 5-10 minute walk apart. The word hamlet comes from the french and means small village. While they are not really villages they are self-containing communities. The visitors who come to stay at the monastery, like myself and Mike, are often called lay friends.)
Wednesday January 21st, 2015
Today was lay day, where the lay friends practice together and the monastics practice together separately through lunch. Last week it was offered to me that I could do the morning chant for our sitting mediation practice this morning in the brothers small hall for the lay friends and I accepted. So this morning I sat at the big bell and offered the morning chant. Last week I went into their hall to practice just to get a feel of the large bell. I was a bit nervous to sing, as usual, but as I practiced breathing deeply and smiling to my nervousness I felt soothed and more relaxed. My heart was still beating quickly with nervous energy but it wasn’t as forceful or as un-grounding as its been in the past when singing in front of others. Slowly slowly as I continue to practice it gets easier and I get stronger.