Expressing

Well … it’s been awhile.  I’d guess six weeks.  It felt like it was over – all this writing.  There was a sense of moving on, away from a blog and towards teaching the Mutual Awakening Practice Course with the Evolutionary Collective.  I’m in a year long teacher training with the EC and it’s intense.  “No time for WordPress!” I solemnly declared.

But here I am.  Will this be a cameo appearance or a full-length novel?  (Hmm … that feels like a mixed metaphor.  Oh well.)

Part of the reason I stopped was that I seemed to have run out of things to say.  1374 posts.  Isn’t that enough?  Apparently not, since my fingers are on the move again.  I feel porous, and surely with all that space within and around me, there’s room for the new to show up.  How about something profoundly new, that I’ve never thought of?  Or maybe nobody’s ever thought of.  (Another hmm.  Do I hear delusions of grandeur on the horizon?)

The pot is being stirred, and it doesn’t feel that I’m the cook.  Hopefully something delicious will show up for supper.

See you tomorrow.

My Meditation Retreat … Part 3

Another aspect of my day on retreat is walking meditation.  The typical plan is to take a 20-foot span of lawn or floor and walk back and forth.  I suppose that sounds pretty boring.  The yogi is not looking around and saying, “Wow, that’s a great tree!”  Instead they’re staying present with the rhythm of the footsteps and noticing the thoughts and feelings that come up.

There’s a walking room in one of the buildings.  At the far end is a large statue of the Buddha.  Many times, I’ve walked towards the Buddha, stopped in front of him, turned around and continued in the opposite direction.  I see in this a rhythm of my life: moving closer to the man’s wisdom and then turning my back on it, over and over.  This walking path is one of many examples in my life of taking something in the physical world and having it be a symbol of something larger.

Another favourite route of mine isn’t a straight line.  Rather it’s a loop … the circular driveway in front of the center over to the edge of the front lawn near the road.  My meditation is to walk down the very middle of the driveway, symbolizing the value of moderation.  I glance up occasionally to see if anyone is coming.  If they are, I move towards the side of the drive and let them continue on their path.  Your needs first, without sacrificing mine.  I need to be on the driveway, “on the path”.  I don’t need to always be in the middle.

And then there’s my rock.  It sits on the lawn, conveniently along my way.  It’s rounded, about two feet high, and partially covered with lichens.  Or is it moss?  Guess I’ll find out on Saturday.  I stop, lay my right hand on my solid friend, and pray for someone I love:

May you be free from danger
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you live with ease

***

I don’t know what I’ll be like after three months of silence.  I know I’ll be a good person.  I already am.  But some other version of a good person, hopefully with a heart ever opening, a touch for those who need it, a smile on my face.

Time appears to be marching on.  And it’s time to stop writing … for 87 days.  I love writing, and I’ll miss my blog and you readers.  I hope my words have sometimes helped you in your life.  I hope you’ve laughed.  I hope you’ve cried.  I have.

I’ll be home on December 7.  I’ll write a blog post on December 8.  I hope you remember me.  Thank you for tuning in to my meanderings.  It’s been a privilege to talk to you.

Day Forty-Three … The End of the Road

I got home at 2:30 this morning, after thirteen-and-a-half hours of driving from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  There were trees.  There were fields.  But all I saw was home approaching.  Way after dark, the freeway narrowed to one lane each way, with miles of orange pylons showing the way for Scarlet and my tailgating semi-trailer friend.  I grabbed the wheel hard and then saw the futility of such behaviour.  Let go, Bruce.  Hold life lightly.

And I do hold my trip with tenderness.  All the astonishing people I met or remet.  All the cool conversations.  What does it all mean?  Well, one thing it means is that I’m meant to be around human beings, rather than retreating to a monastery for endless bliss.  I’m meant to learn from my fellow orbiters on the planet Earth.  To see their beauty and their pain and to accept it all.  And I’m meant to boldly go where I have not gone before, within both the interior and exterior landscapes.

In eleven days, I begin a long period of silence in Massachusetts.  I’ll be surrounded by 100 fellow retreatants.  What will I offer them, as we each reach towards the deeper meanings of life?  I don’t know.  The journey of connection will continue.  Last month’s mountains and prairie and next month’s fields and woodlots will be equally marvelous, but will pale in comparison to the human souls who will dance across my stage.

It’s such a privilege to be out and about.  Sadly, the second season of my travels will not be accompanied by nightly blog posts.  Just me and my body, me and my soul.  But I will reach you somehow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my six-week road trip.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  Stay with me for part two, please.