Skip to main content

The Dark


Heavy hearted, filled with dread, I sit in the dark late afternoon, wondering when it got so dark again, not feeling up to it, this practice period, these 6 months of dark winter days less than a week away.

I've returned from my sister's wedding in Pennsylvania, where I lived off brownies and pizza and beer for 5 days. I showed up and said yes, despite the crying fit I had just before leaving Green Gulch. I said yes to the fatty food, yes to the all day flow of coffee, yes to my uncle's terminal cancer, yes to my mother's cigarettes, yes to my Grandmother's criticism, yes to my brother-in-law's campfire, yes to my little brother's bike ride through the mud, and yes to my little sister's tears.

Now I'm back at Green Gulch, saying yes to the practice period, yes to the farm for the last couple days, yes to a little vacation with my wife, yes to my ordination, yes to my teacher's absence ( I haven't heard from him in over 20 days) and actually, I don't like it.

There is one who is not so busy liking and disliking. I suppose that's the one who sits me still, to watch, and observe this cycle, to see if I can see a little more of just this.

I would like to plant and harvest, to sit zazen and study, day after day until I die, upright, in the field or the zendo. This is highly unlikely, as life moves us where it does, like a river flooding the banks, not too worried about drowning out trees or houses.

Let my eyes open, please. Let me not look away. The darkness of winter days is descending, let me look into it.

Comments

  1. Something about sunshine makes everything easier to endure, don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
  2. More energetic for sure. However, in these winter days, I actually become quiet! Sometimes hard, sometimes soft..what I like is Buddha, what I don't like is Buddha.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Goodbye Green Gulch Sama! Hello Tassajara!

About two years ago I left Mid City Zen in New Orleans. I feared I was leaving something, and now I'm about to leave Green Gulch and that same fear has arisen. I imagined there was wealth, a sort of freedom, and a lot to "renounce."  I had a car (a fast one!), a playstation 3, many books, many articles of clothing, and as I look around our little cabin, that same perception has arisen- I have too much stuff! And I like it!

My book collection that I sold or gave away in New Orleans has somehow manifested out here. And I have quite the collection of farm hats and farm boots. Rubber ones, Redwings, Ropers, Bogs to the ankle, Bogs to the knee, a navy seal Solomon for the wet spring weather. Most of them are fit to throw away, glued back together and stitched with fishing line, and just so smelly, so smelly my wife won't let me keep them in the cabin, so I hide them all around Green Gulch.

So I started packing, and while that fear of renunciation has arisen, it's not …

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…