‘I should dispel the suffering of others because it is suffering like my own suffering. I should help others too because of their nature as beings, which is like my own being.’ (Shantideva)
I had a whole month’s worth of posts lined up to cover the time I was due to be in England. Now I comb through them to see which ones still feel helpful during this time. Some of the harder-edged, or more abstract stuff does not feel to me to speak to what I imagine we need to hear.
In the midst of the disruptions and the lack of mobility, I notice how much I try to find ways to be useful, to be able to connect, or find words to offer people. And of course I need them myself. Leading the Core meditations on Instagram – words I never thought I would type – I find myself relaxing (though knocking over a full water bottle right before I was due to go live on Monday did not help me start the session relaxed). I have felt supported by, and connected to, the invisible audience there; and just as much when I follow the other teachers leading their sessions. Sitting with Zachary on Zoom, joined by new and regular people on this new forum; meeting with my student group on the same screens – these are the connections we have now, not as nourishing as real, face-to-face interactions, but better than isolation. I offer up routes for roams in the hope that people will enjoy a solitary hike, as I appreciate the value of being immersed in nature.
My daily rides ended on Sunday: I rode up to Crystal Springs, and down to San Bruno; since I found myself so close, I took to the Bay Trail again, in the opposite direction. But once home, I felt tired. On Monday, after we sat, I set off for Rainbow, but seeing the lines, decided against waiting out in the cold wind. A headache developed, and during the night my body and my dreams suggested that my temperature might be rising slightly, again. I rested for much of Tuesday – apart from leading the morning meditation, and then going to Rainbow after the rain broke for a while. The line was forty minutes or so, but inside was quiet with the low number of shoppers inside. One roll of toilet paper was allowed per person, so I took my share. Then it started raining again on the way home.
I try not to spend all day looking for updates online; most of what I read is not uplifting, and there is the sense that we really don’t know how long we are going to be going through this unusual phase of our lives. A few articles have stood out, though: one on the perils of social isolation, such as we contemplate now, one on the benefits of connection with nature, and one from a pregnant nurse, a bodhisattva in action. And, just in time, once of my favourite distractions, not least for the soundscapes it offers, has come to life again: the osprey cam from Scotland. That cycle continues, unabated.
Upper Crystal Springs Reservoir from the trail on Sunday.
It was warmer down by the bay – the fishermen were not sheltering in place, but they were keeping good distances.