Sunday, April 3, 2011

phew. hi.

Hi! I have a blog! I also have a billion other things, like work and Zen retreats, and holy crap I asked Anna to marry me and now I guess we should get married to avoid it being all awkward. My little brother the farmer was very nice and found a week they could come that didn't mean us getting married in the dead of winter, so now we just need 3 other entities to have the same day free seven months from now and we'll be good to go.

Our Zen teacher will do the honors. I asked her a couple years ago what she does for weddings, and she said it's up to the couple, as long as they say the Ten Precepts (to each other or the audience or both, I don't know). We have no idea what we're doing. In our different ways, neither of us has any idea what we might wear, and we need to talk to people who actually know things, about, um, yannow. Clothes, and stuff.

Speaking of Zen things, we just got back from our sangha's semi-annual retreat down in the Santa Cruz Mountains, near Boulder Creek. This was my first retreat since October 2009, and while I've been sitting, all that time, sitting all day (in 35-minute periods with various breaks) is a different thing. Mostly it requires acceptance, in the broad sense that we struggle to explain. Yes, your knees are going to hurt, your back might hurt, anything else might hurt. Sesshin isn't something we do because it's fun; we do it because it's helpful to our practice, whose ultimate purpose is to end our and everyone else's suffering. We spend a lot of our time refusing to accept the realities of life, fighting our minds, often in very subtle ways. Usually I adjust pretty quickly, but it took about a day of sitting before I finally gave up and accepted that my body hurt. Then, of course, it hurt a whole lot less.

It was good, and important, to slow down for a bit, after this month of going full-tilt at work. I wasn't enjoying it, but I could have used another 5 days (the traditional full length for sesshin): I feel like two days barely makes a dent in the tension I built up over my time in Chile.
Then again, someone once asked the teacher Blanche Hartman what happens when we do zazen meditation. She said, "You can't possibly know."
I did get a bit closer to seeing all that tension and defensiveness. We can't let anything go if we can't find it. So I'm finally unwinding, maybe. We'll see. I probably won't narrate the process, because really, who cares?

One other notable thing, which I'll have to mull over and probably write about, was to see again the dissonance between how I see myself (withdrawn, lazy, disconnected) and how others see me, at least in the sangha (kind, helpful, listening). At some point I have to give some weight to everyone else's view of me. Because that's not terrifying or anything.

Tomorrow: back to work.

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