Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

29Jan/090

Gratitude

Tonight I was in a rush to leave the office, to walk to the flat, to feed Atari, and rush over to SE to meet CK and DTH for dinner. I had planned to not rush, but got caught up in finishing setting up some things at work for one of my projects, ran late and then was rushing.

I was walking very quickly and felt tense with trying to remember what I needed to do. By the time I got to the flat from MAX my right knee ached. I changed into "zendo clothes" and rushed off to Belmont to have dinner. As I parked it hit me that I'd forgotten my zafu, wagessa (a small cloth "scarf" I wear to signify that I've taken the first five of the 16 Precepts), and a little flax seed pillow I use to support my hands. These are not minor things to forget.

During dinner, which was a lot of fun, I felt myself stiffening up. My knee and my hips ached. I took some ibuprofen when we got to the Dharma Center, hoping it would help. I tried to walk evenly, but felt myself favoring my right leg a lot.

At the Dharma Center there's extra zafus around, even of the inflatable type I have that was made at Great Vow. I popped up to the zendo when we got there and set up my spot with a zafu I adjusted until it was the same amount of air as mine and a bench, so I can switch if my hip gets too sore. I set my wrap down on CK's zafu and went back downstairs.

HB caught me before I was going up with one directive for the chanting I'd do later, "Sweetly." he said smiling.

I laughed and said I was trying. He noted the progress I've made from rushing anxiously through the chanting service, now he wanted me to work on bringing sweetness to it, treating the sutras with affection and care in addition to precision and projection.

Then I headed up to sit. Only the zafu I'd set up for myself was gone. I quickly looked at the shelf at the back and didn't see another inflatable one. This set off some worry in my heart. The last time I'd tried to sit without an inflatable zafu my legs fell asleep and I had hip cramps from the pressure on my sciatic nerve. I dashed downstairs quick and HB spotted me. I noted quickly that someone had grabbed my zafu.

HB and I have discussed how to manage my chronic leg, hip and back pain during zazen and part of that management is an inflatable zafu. He and I both looked around the downstairs and didn't spot one!! He ducked into the teacher's room, came out with some of the zafus he & CB use, we sorted out the right one for me to take, I quickly went back upstairs and settled myself down.

After the bells finished I took some deep breaths to settle myself after the rushing around, so much rushing tonight! As I started to settled down my mind finally hit upon my teacher giving me one of their cushions to use. I suddenly found myself in tears.

I think it is more of that perspective shift. I was suddenly struck with profound gratitude and love for the community I have around me now, I see how it continues to include me and provide support. I have never felt the support of an organized group like this. I've always felt a bit on the outside. To feel this way provides as disorientating shift in view where I can suddenly grasp the profound lack of this kind of community I've felt. Hence the tears.

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