During the winter at Tassajara, if you are very motivated, you can just about manage six and a half hours of sleep on a regular night. Six is more common. It took me until my second winter there to get used to this amount of sleep – along with the cold and the limited amount of food – but once I had, then practice periods felt pretty sustainable to me.
Since leaving Zen Center, I have continued to keep the early hours that now seem ingrained in my body, and as long as I get at least six hours sleep, I feel pretty happy – for all that I read the latest research about telomeres and the general benefits of getting more.
If you read this regularly, you may have noticed reference, before and after my trip to England, of a bit of a sleep deficit, and even earlier starts. It isn’t hard to be aware of the link between having a lot on my plate, and waking up sooner than desired. It became very clear to me when I was ino, almost ten years ago, was that it wasn’t necessarily having a lot to do that made me stressed, it was having something big at the end of all those things that I couldn’t devote the energy to that I would have liked, because I had to deal with everything else first.
I am not sure if there was one big thing to take care of in this last period of feeling stressed and busy, but with weddings, and writing (not for here, but for the apps), I feel that I have to be on, and presenting a certain way. I suppose my fear is that I won’t be able to come up with the goods at the right time, though I know, given a few free moments to gather myself, that I can access the ‘priest’ part of me easily enough – that is, that part of me that I want to embody as a priest, and which I assume is how people are expecting me to be.
In any case, for the past week or so, my slate has been clear; indeed, with the calendar shifts at Wilbur, I have ended up with a free weekend when I wasn’t expecting one (there will be a roam on Sunday 24th as a result). I have money in the bank such that I don’t have to be worried about paying the rent at the end of the month, as has been the case for much of the past four years. It hasn’t started to rain beyond a passing shower, nor is it especially cold yet. Out on my bike on Friday afternoon, as I rode along Twin Peaks, on the cusp of the fog rolling in, looking down over different parts of the city, I had that same feeling of being at home as I had experienced a couple of months ago. And I am sleeping almost eight hours every night. Perhaps a part of that is attributable to the clock change, and not enduring the newly longer dark evenings, but I think it has to do with really having nothing to worry about – at least in my corner of the world (I feel somewhat different listening to the impeachment hearings and reading the pre-election news from the UK). And that feels good, for as long as it lasts.