Camus’ La Peste was part of my French syllabus at high school; as such it had a pretty strong influence on my teenage thinking, and thus a lingering effect on how I see the world. It is interesting to see it quoted so often in the press now. One recent reference that stuck with me was that of the meaninglessness of the plague.
I think this is a part of why we find the time of virus so unsettling: we are reluctantly confronted with this, and with our essential powerlessness in the face of nature (as strongly outlined by Barbara Ehrenreich in the New Yorker recently) and we don’t know what to make of it.
For a lot of this week I found myself continuing to feel listless, unable to fully land with the fragmentary nature of everything. Perhaps a part of this is feeling that I am spread between many different platforms. I reach out to people on email, text, Slack, WhatsApp, Zoom; there is this; my occasional Patreon updates; now there is Instagram, where I seem to be accumulating followers in the Zen Center orbit (one of whom said he was switching from unread-by-him emails of these posts to following me on Instagram).
And, as the quote from the Shodoka I titled this piece with reminds us, this is the truth of the reality we are in. Sometimes good, sometimes shaky. Nothing is excluded. There is nothing else.
I have enjoyed several bike rides this week, with my lungs feeling more normal, and wonder how the bright – if a little chilly and windy – weather of this week will somehow transform into another weekend of rain.
I wait for an hour in line to get food at Rainbow, having not wanted to do that the day before, but the mood is mostly relaxed. I start to wonder why people are in a hurry to get anywhere. I wonder what I can use as a mask the next time I go out.
New routines continue. I will teach another couple of sessions on Instagram for Core during the week, as well as offering the lunchtime sit on Monday. I continue to post routes for hikes you can take by yourself – the next one up will be a bicycle version. I am glad to be able to offer teachings when I can, and hope that people take the opportunity to develop a practice they might not have been inclined to otherwise.
And, doing that selling and promoting thing which does not come naturally to me:
Should you be tempted, you can get a Core trainer with a discount using the code SITWITHSHUNDO, which as these things do, benefits you, me and them.
Simple Habit, for whom I have recorded many sessions, have made their content freely available for the time being. If you want to make the most of that, input the following link: https://www.simplehabit.com/redeem/UQGMTFLB. You will be asked to create an account if you haven’t already. Download the app and enjoy! The free trial will then be applied to your mobile app as well (ios and Android) Please note, the redeem link ONLY works on the web. Please do not try to input your code in the app.
Some articles I have bookmarked this week: how not to stress about being unproductive (which definitely applies to me); what kinds of exposure are actually most dangerous; and what these times show us about the society we live in.
I hope you are all keeping well, and staying sane.
A couple of different slopes from recent bike rides: Twin Peaks Boulevard, now closed to cars, looking towards downtown.
Callan Boulevard in Daly City, looking across to Mount Tam.