Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Just the Sound of Rain

Today was kind of rough. The full big reality of some recent decisions started to hit and it felt very uncomfortable. Adding to the discomfort is the uncertainty and stretch of being involved in negotiating a proposal for a venue - there's large numbers involved and I've never done this kind of thing before. A whole lot feels very uncertain right now.

I don't really like uncertainty or change. I grew up with a too generous helping of both of those, combined with entirely disordered, dysfunctional and sometimes abusive behavior. All is a recipe for fearing change. I feel waves of big craziness from Lovey, my Inner Critic:

"Are you absolutely mad?! How could you be volunteering to give up this security?!"

With all that energy I went to sit zazen with my sangha tonight, fully expecting two periods of monkey mind: Lovey berating me, some wholly inappropriate music, a little crying -- the usual. Well, the usual for my zazen for the past several months if not most of the past year. My zazen has become distinctly restless and is just one more task I must accomplish each day in order to be a good person. My teacher recently recommend that I sit less each day to try get those periods to regain some sense of restfulness.

Tonight I was prepared. I had the mala CK got for me, my wrap, and I even had a new handkerchief someone sent me, embroidered with blue & white columbines. I was ready for it. Instead during the first sit, with a physical sensation, a "popping" of energy in my head, suddenly everything stopped. Maybe still a little bit of voice, the observer noticing the quiet and commenting at this reminder of zazen as rest.

Still, it was the most quiet my mind has been since sesshin in August when I was overcome with this hazy, exhaustion that seemed to keep me in a strange fog most of the week. Only this time I wasn't hazy or exhausted, I was just there. Aware of the sensation of breath moving in my tight ribs and of the sound of the late winter rain pounding into the roof of the zendo.

The second sit wasn't as restful and I didn't expect it to be. Neither was it awful. It was just normal. Thoughts arising and returning to the breath. Through it all was the thrumming of the rain, nearly until the bell rain. The sound filling my ears, drawing me back out of my head and into my body and reminding me of the sensation of rest.

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