Skip to main content

Sangha of the Fields

Sick today, and it's been coming. Running a rest deficit. Woke at 3am today to deliver food in the city. Returned to harvest for tomorrow's market and was benched by the farm elder, 70 year old Emila who wears two harvest knives and out cuts every young whipper snapper on the farm on lettuce and wit.

She said, "Your eyes look small. They're talking about if you're okay, and you've been pushing hard, we don't need you today."

I laughed it off and she told me to go to bed, not get sick. I said, I thought we chop wood and carry water. After a nap, she suggested. So, I slept until about 10:30 and my right eye was pinned shut by a headache and I felt nauseous (on pancake day?!). I didn't feel any better in the rack, so out to fields I went, looking like what my mother used to say was death swarmed over.

The farm elder let me slip in, and the manager gave me an easy job: cutting wild nettles that pop up in our rows. My headache receded to the background and nausea was just a strange feeling as I walked carefully through our huge broccoli plants, hunting the sharp little plants. Not a heroic assignment, but a wonderful way to spend time being sick.

What made me go back to the fields was this sangha, this farm crew, who were really concerned for me. Emila laid down the law and benched me, but everyone expressed their concern. And harvest knife in hand, I could focus.

This is an amazing life. Thick fog has set in over the temple and green dragons play in it. Below, we play in the fields. Our customers can't fathom how we sell such huge bunches of greens for just 2 dollars, and it's because love of the dirt is our investment, our return is being able to live here, together.

The 2 dollars is just for fun.

Comments

  1. Nauseous on pancake day? Tragedy! :)

    Your life...your thoughts and insights, the way you view your daily existance, is amazing. Your joy and contentment refresh me. I've been writing on contentment lately...how deciding you have "enough" is the moment you grant yourself breathing room. You will then have enough money, enough time...

    I'm a bit jealous of the $2 greens.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How To Become A Zen Monk (or die trying)

"Now, if you have decided to become a monk because you think that life in this world is too hard and bitter for you and you would prefer to rather live off other people's donations while drinking your tea - if you want to become a monk just to make a living, then the following is not for you." -Kosho Uchiyama
So you want to be a Zen monk or priest? Unsui, which means clouds and water? Good on ya. Me too. 
Having googled that very aspiration for the first time in 2003, I was convinced it was impossible. I'll admit I am as thick headed as they come. I was also resistant to meet some figure in a robe. I heard my father's voice when I begged him to get my fortune read in Jackson Square, New Orleans, "I'm not paying some fat asshole in a bathrobe to tell you lies." Instead, for the first four years of my Zen practice, I committed as little as possible to my local sangha, left when they started chanting, and never talked to the teacher. I was so unapproacha…

Boredom and Buddhism

To say I feel bored feels disrespectful. How could that be? I have a three month old daughter, I'm training for a demanding job in the temple, I'm a wilderness medic responding to incidents every 4 days or so, and I'm sewing my priest robes for ordination. And I have this sense of disinterest.

I have a few theories as to why I feel bored. One could be the natural come down from having the baby and becoming stable in our schedule. Another come down plays out in the adrenaline crash after responding to a medical emergency or the general up keep work I do at the temple when compared to fixing something crucial to operations. When I hear there's a fire in the area I'm pretty excited to be mobilized for stay and defend duty. I feel pretty guilty about that, too.

So I read Beyond Boredom and Depression by Ajahn Jagaro and I was reminded to be careful about looking outward by this passage:

So what is boredom? It is a subjective experience that occurs when the mind is not i…

Vows and Compass

Being in new Orleans reminds me that my way seeking mind ripened here. Maybe it was the level of maturity my father's recovery actualized. Maybe it was the Ben Wren book I found at Beaucoup Books on my lunch break. Maybe it was my step mom's copy of things fall apart by Pema Chodron sitting in the bathroom.

Later I would witness the host of suffering post-katrina offered to a young public school teacher. How could I help? I took my first set of vows not really knowing where they would lead, like the old black metal compass my dad put in my Christmas stocking when I was about ten. Beautiful to hold, difficult to understand.

Now, years later, I feel a bit subdued as form,sensation, perception, impulse, and thought tag everything, beckoning some purchase for the price of belief. I'm home, but a home leaver. People wonder when I'll move back and being a home leaver means being ready to leave home again and again, which could mean coming back.

How will I actually engage all…