We have tipped into the second half of the year now, and locally, we had a shift in the weather to go with it: from fog and wind last week, to warm clear skies – and wind – this. Sometimes the wind feels exhausting, especially on a bike, but the sense of movement it signifies is a salutory reminder of all the forces in flow right now.
As I have been doing these past few months in the talks and teachings I have offered, I try to find a word that encapsulates whatever mood I might be tuning into, but that has proved hard to pinpoint this past week. The surge of protests has receded a little – although a Pride-themed one passed by my door over the weekend. People around the country seemed to have lost any sense of patience and resilience about the virus and the lockdown; I am thankful that San Francisco is perhaps one of the most cautious cities in the country in that regard, and in any case, I am in no hurry to start mingling freely. I have a sense, though it maybe just an optimistic wish, that the Republicans in the States have realised the game is up for the next election, and have given up any semblance of governing. They only seem interested in a scorched-earth approach as they recede into history.
Teaching opportunities have been varied recently – another zazen instruction for Zen Center, Core sessions on Instagram, corporate meditations, another talk to the Hebden group, as well as preparing my upcoming class for Zen Center on Dogen’s Bendowa. I am mindful that Dogen might seem abstract to the needs of today, but I also trust that the benefits of practice that he talks about in the text are timeless, and thus equally valuable and valid now as they were when he wrote it almost eight hundred years ago.
In my sitting, and at other times, a sense of ease has arisen – a feeling that I don’t have to set myself against the world, but can just meet the moment as I am. I am not sure what has brought that to bear, but I am glad for these moments, like sitting out on the deck, still warm in the twilight, a half moon rising, enjoying one of the many books I am dipping into at the moment. I came across a Suzuki Roshi quote the other day that I shared with the Hebden group: ‘Your everyday life is also the expression of your inmost nature.’ This is always true, and it feels especially valuable to be practising with this intention at this moment.
Books on my desk – all highly recommended.