Things are settling down internally and in general. The continuous contact with fellow trainees and constant exposure to the dharma and the sangha are just what the doctor ordered. Being in a structured environment of this type is being in a constant learning mode because the whole point of the practice is to examine one’s self in detail. At this point I’m in a bit of a “limbo” because after next week I go and house sit for two weeks for some friends who are experiencing for the first time the prime imperative of all grandparent.

“MUST SEE AND CUDDLE NEW GRANDCHILD ASAP: COLLEGE LOOMS!”

After that I’ll be back at temple and probably have a different take on things just because of the proximity to old friends and the newness of the sensory overload will have worn off a bit. So many details left undone.

Thank you good friend who is renting my house for being patient with the things I left undone.

It’s also been fun seeing and working on repairing and replacing things I helped build or install twenty some years ago.

Life’s a journey

And we don’t go very far;

Not as far as we think.

Then again there is no

Limit to the space we

Occupy. Just us. Just This.

push/pull

I arrived in Bay area Saturday afternoon. I’m settling in slowly to the pace and activity of the temple. This week I’ll get up to speed on day to day doings and remembering various aspects of ceremonies and such, things we didn’t practice at home. But, like bicycle riding its in the memory somewhere. In my last minute rush of course I forgot some things and left a few things undone, luckily my friend who will be living in that house is helping to tie up loose ends, plus she was willing to take on the dog and cat care as well. She’s not  huge fan of cats but I’m sure will learn to love my adorable feline.

Moving from a small town in a rural setting into the Berkeley hub-bub is a bit of culture shock to say the leas,t so I think it will take a few weeks to settle in to the pace of everything; one block over is Solano Ave., and I would guess there are 30-40 restaurants in a ten block stretch. Only one of each Subway and Starbucks and the rest are just small enterprise. Everything from Nepalese/Tibetan, to Chilean, to Afghan/Cuban, and then there are some unusual ones. Same with stores, and the people. Any five people you see are all from different places in the world. A rather heady experience for this re-transplant.

I will be posting more often and get back to my previous blog’s practice of posting daily in a week or so, once I’m settled in physically and mentally (spiritually). I must say that when the time comes to make some choices in a year, that little town sure has lots of good memories going for it. I feel so fortunate to be able to have this type of quandary in my life, and even more so because any choice I make will be informed by the practice and training in Zen that keeps straightening my path, spine and convictions when I wander, feel weak, or am confused.

Propelled or pulled

No difference at all

When in motion trying

To be still, and at rest.

Finally pulled out of Tekoa at 3:30 this afternoon. Some things left undone but mostly everything is finally in motion.

I had terrific experience of being the pleasantly surprised victim of a surprise going away gathering at local coffee shop “Eclairs”. So many kind people that have become friends in my time there. I was really moved. The word community has taken on a much deeper meaning in the last 5 or 6 weeks. More is being revealed. I’m so happy to be 66 years old and still discovering new depth and experience about people and life. True joy.

I did make the first leg of my journey, only four hours and I’m in Boardman on the Oregon side of the Columbia River in very nice, reasonably priced hotel with a good restaurant and great view of the setting sun on river. The first time in my life I just sat and enjoyed a setting without thinking about journey. I’m on one and have no worries, a very good friend is living in my house and taking care of it and my dog and cat. I have opportunity to practice full and complete trust. My life is so rich, good friends and on my way to reconnect with the sangha in Bay area and deepen my Buddhist training while not having any outcome in front of me. Yes, there are some things I would like to happen but I’m really tired of wanting outcomes, so I think I am finally ready to accept what is brought into my life. I’ll accept. I’ll allow, I won’t preclude or exclude. I want to help and to be helped. I bow in gratitude.

moving, as in motion…

This morning I drove 70 miles up the Clearwater River on the Nez Perce Reservation to the town of Kamia. Just west of it, I performed some Buddhist and personal rituals relating to the ashes of both my mother who died five years ago and those of my wife who died six months ago. It made for not only a very full day, since it was over a three hour drive each way, but also one of release and letting go . I have less than two weeks before I move back to the Bay area and lots of things still need to get done. I also have many qualms about the move concerning the care of my dog and cat and my house and belongings. It is very much a chance to practice trust in those that proffer their friendship; and that has always been difficult for me. A residue of the karma I created in my life before I got sober and went straight.

The whole reason for this move initially was the result of karma I created by being infatuated with someone and believing that there was a possible great future relationship  where everything seemed to click and appear do-able. Two mature grown-ups in love, who vowed that there was nothing that could not be talked through. Turned out there were things (or a thing, anyway), that couldn’t be talked through.  I had committed to moving there and the object of my affections refuses to talk to me because of… Well, now, I’m not really sure. It all seems so vapory. Almost like some sort of dream, or dare I say it, delusional. In my wisdom I thought that this was a different thing, that I could bypass the period of mourning and enter into a relationship that was founded on the principle of mutually caring about and being careful of my sick and then dying wife’s feelings, and the propriety of it all.

Not being greedy.

Letting things unfold.

Not ripping open the package.

All sorts of good ideas like that were individually, and mutually, quietly discarded as the heat and momentum built up to meeting and completing, in a way, the beginnings of something that looked very promising; a grown up thought out future with an open endedness to it; All that unfolding.

Seems there were some small details overlooked. I won’t go into those, but suffice it to say that “my nose was wide open”, as we used to say when I was coming up in New York, and I believed that a committed relationship was just that. Oh well. Close the nose and and don’t go crazy and you won’t be committed.

Where Oh Where did my middle-path go?

The things I set in motion for one set of reasons, are now in motion and I can readily assign another newer and more sane set of reasons. They are merely what I should have done in the first place after my wife died. Take a year and go someplace safe where I can practice in a more structured setting everything I’ve been learning, or at least been taught, for these last 30 years with my wife during that time; and see what really unfolds.

Egad! I’m a selfish and headstrong and a make big mistakes sort of fool; but, I am willing to learn. (Most things that I’ve learned that had true value, I learned the hard way.)

To make amends and rectify my mistakes and sit up in the presence of the Buddha’s and the Ancestors and try and actualize the teaching in my life (one more time), and step forward into the Eternal present moment. There is and must be an “Always going on, Always going on, Always becoming…” (A portion of the Prajanparamitta Sutra)

I Take Refuge in the Buddha, for he is my True teacher.

I Take Refuge in the Dharma, since it is the Medicine for all my suffering.

I Take Refuge in the Sangha, since its members, are Truly Wise and compassionate.

Indwelling…

 

In trying to prepare for this move I am put into the position of having to take a very careful look at my life. All the things I have to move are things that we either brought with us from the past, or acquired here; and some of them are things that only I brought along and acquired. The latter being generally in the realm of thoughts, ideas and so forth that felt personal to me.

Now, that I am committed to this change of process/venue I see that I must do more than glance at the baggage I’m choosing to take with me and that which I leave entrusted to a future, which currently is wide open. Of course the future is always wide open, we rarely see that because of our own  plans and designs having primacy in our view the world(s).

The earth revolves around the Sun and we think it also revolves around us and our concerns. Turns out, one of those is not true.

In dwelling I seek a refuge from

That, which doesn’t tarry:,Those

Thoughts, feelings, yesterdays,

Tomorrows, ideas and plans,

Hopes and dreams; the Stuff of

Distraction, the Unpresent where

I find only a me, a dock, a platform,

From which I dread to venture. Thus,

Yes, thus, is the road not taken…