Moments in a Momentous Day

Sometimes it’s hard to remember just what happened in the hours since rising from my bed, at 5.30 am this morning. In many ways a momentous day. Here’s how it went, in brief:-

Meditation, walking meditation, meditation, precenting morning service (decide to sing names of ancestors as if I loved each one of them), apron on, speed around the kitchen until lunch with a break for community tea (convoluted conversation but can’t remember what about). Tofu Pot Pie, rice salad, greens, yogurt, and Crabapple Puree (relieved that pie cooked in time, sad I forgot to include Marmite – few noticed)!

Walk on bottom road, sun out, high wind, take in the landscape (remember the moonlit walk a few nights ago). 2.00 pm (realize been up and active for over 8 hours). Rest.  Tea. An hour and a half Skype support call (once again amazed at how resilient the human spirit is in the face of early adversity). Missed Medicine Meal, rescue some soup from the kitchen, made some white toast. Eat in my room.

Coming up to 7.00 pm. Catch the start of the announcement of lockdown starting midnight Thursday (all very grave and history-making). (much quipping on-line about the delay in the announcement, originally scheduled for 5.00 pm. ‘They know Strictly Come Dancing starts at 7.10’, right?) (Love British humour.)

Meditation. (moon full, cold on face, wind assaulting trees in the paddock, what a racket!). Shower, put out clean clothes (prep for Founders Day tomorrow). Offer incense for a couple (tonight is their last night in their now sold house. They move to Belgium on Tuesday, to live on a boat. (I am beyond words at what they are doing – respect).

My mind goes big; reflecting on lives and the impact of what’s ahead for humanity (wonder if my routine eye check-up will be canceled, again). Find myself especially grateful for running hot water, (so much to be grateful for.)

Humanity? Must remember to sing each name as if I loved each one. Goodnight Jade readers, time to turn in. Be safe, be well.

Tent Coming Down

I have grown fond of our tent on the lawn but it’s time to pack up for the Winter. It has weathered storm force winds and heavy rains and for the most part, survived.

Going to Bed Grateful

On a personal note: In the past few days I have been having difficulties with ‘tabs’ crashing in the Firefox browser, others might be having a similar problem. If I remember correctly one of my first emails calling for help was headed, ‘Having Horrible Trouble!’ As tension mounted over the hours and then days I found myself ‘beside myself’ with emotion(s). Then finally, not knowing what to do with ‘myself, and the computer, I took off in the dark for a walk late into the evening.

It had been raining during the day and the road was wet, glistening in the light of my head torch. The still darkness of the night, and the moon darting in and out from behind the clouds gradually took my attention away from the matter at hand generally. Input from outside oneself really helps with runaway thoughts. Mercifully. Not that my mind had stopped completely, not stopped planning what I’d do with the computer when I got back! Oh no!

I’d pack it up and park it out of my sight, sell it and buy a new one, borrow another one, send it to the menders in town (not a viable option). On and on completely irrationally. Anybody recognize this kind of over-the-top thinking? Which at one level you know is silly, but near impossible to stop. Emotions and the thoughts that accompany them get stronger, with exercise

However by this time the outside world was having a big impact on me, through my senses; the moon had escaped the clouds, my shadow reached out before me as I walked, the lights across the valley shone like stars. Oh errr! That’s cattle where they shouldn’t be! Then turning around, the moon was so bright, my head torch no longer needed to light my way. The road fully illuminated by the moon, stretched out before me like a silver ribbon. Magic. And then the emotion changed, dramatically.

Daddy! Daddy
I called,
Daddy, Daddy, DADDY,
I called even louder.

‘Walk with me’
You loved to walk
at night by the
light of the moon.

We walked
we talked
by the light
of the moon.

Gosh, I thought
‘You’d have been
one hundred
this year.’

So there you have it. When in extremity who are you going to call on, Kanzeon, the Buddha, anybody, everybody? No, you call on whoever or whatever comes at that moment when your mouth opens. Not that I believe good ol’ pop was leaning down and holding my hand as he would do when I was a child, when we walked in the snow or rain. Or by the light of the moon. Calling for help literally or figuratively can take oneself out of oneself, just as long as one doesn’t insist that help comes.

Back in my room I packed up my computer in its case ready to do something with it in the morning. Then an email popped up on my tablet. ‘Bring the computer over if you want.’ Next morning I did just that.

Going to bed grateful just has to be the best thing.

(Not) Singing in the Rain! – Video

We were very fortunate with the weather last Friday evening for the Toro at the end of the Segaki Retreat, which ended officially the day afterwards. Here below is the live streamed video of most of the event. For more information about the ceremony go to our Throssel Blog. Although I published the post I struggled to explain the meaning of the ceremony. Rev. Roland did a brilliant job, thankfully.

Without Edges – Refuge

In contemplating ‘renewal’ I have been struggling to express the nub of what I want to point towards before getting into practicalities. Todays Dharma Talk which was given by Rev. Master Berwyn, What is Refuge points so clearly to that ‘nub’. If you have a chance to listen/watch, it comes recommended, as do all of the talks given this week during the retreat. The retreat will culminate with the ceremony of Feeding the Hungry Ghosts on Friday morning.

muActually the retreat culminates with the Toro, or fire on Friday evening – we are prommised heavy rain! Fire is regarded as a cleansing, an offering up, a letting go. The Japanese character for empty or immaculate depicts stylized flames, blazing up within the character. The first character of my name Mu depicts this ‘blazing up’ of immaculacy.

In a certain sense our lives, our living of it, is within the blazing up of mu, emptiness. How so? Well we tend to think of fire as getting rid of something when in the above meaning there IS only blazing up, in emptyness. Can one catch a flame? Find and define the edges of flames. Yes, perhaps but not actually. This then is the basis of ‘renewal’, to blaze up. To live, to meet conditions unconditionally.  In order to do that we have to acknowledge self-interest, self-improvement/self-help/self need strategies, which most of us have ticking away in the background. It is a massive ‘ask’ to let go of oneself where we feel relatively safe and secure. Or at least try to be safe. On a survival level, of course, we do need to be safe but most of us are fortunate enough to have physical security.

On our most fundamental level, spiritual level, we unknowingly and constantly enter the Garden of the Bodhisattvas where everything and anything flourishes – including (what we fondly regard as) ‘ourselves’. The garden isn’t a place, definitely not a ‘place’ safe and secure (Rev. Berwyn talks about this at the start of his talk), assured and permanent. Yet as one of our scriptures says, it is ‘where we take our delight and play’.

In many ways, it is easy to point to the nub of the matter less easy to comprehend or accept, when there is actually nothing separate to comprehend or accept! The nub is not a concept or an ideal state to achieve either. So having got this truth out there (thanks to Rev. Berwyn) I am ok to talk about practicalities, of ‘skilful means’  because addressing daily living can quickly start to look like advice on self-improvement, which is not what we are about! The question frequently posed is, ‘when the garden gate seems closed and locked how can I get in’? That’s locked into our ‘selves’, mentally/physically/emotionally. This is where skilful means which I’m calling ‘renewal’ enters.