June 07, 2012 by Jokai
Spring Training period is already a distant memory. One delusion I like to practice in training period is that when Interim training period comes along, I will have lots of time to do everything. Like writing a blog for instance! Of course though the daily schedule is different, life at Yokoji continues to present as many challenges as it ever has. I’m thankful for that. A gift I gave myself recently is to give up the idea of a day off. There are certainly days that I rest more than others, but there are truly no days off. This summer I am very lucky in that my son Dylan is staying here at the Center. I’m grateful to Tenshin Roshi, the residents and Sangha at large in supporting this. Adjusting to a necessarily unpredictable schedule has brought up plenty of opportunities to awaken from my ideas of how and what something should look like. That word “should” has caused me a lot of trouble down the years. Or to rephrase that, the way I regard how life “should” be causes trouble when it doesn’t jive with how things really are. Saying we have to leave in two minutes to walk to the Buddha Hall doesn’t translate well to an eight year old, I have found. Finding the flow of our days involves looking at things from a different perspective than my well-honed art of clock driven minutiae. I am finding that I have a whole new level of respect for those of you that maintain a lay practice in the midst of family, work and having to do a quick dash around Trader Joes before picking up the kids.
One of the great gifts of living and training at a full time Zen training center is that one pretty much knows what one is going to be doing from one minute to the next. Practicing alongside my son, not only do I not know what is coming next, there is a good chance I may be ten minutes late for it. And I may have forgotten to bring a healthy snack along. Of course, I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything. As in all areas of my life, it’s the defined narrow sense of who I am and how things should be that needs to be surrendered, reality examined and accorded with. More and more I’m interested in improving my relationship to the world, noticing the ways in which I become a little stuck, the ways in which I create “two” and entering in afresh, seeing what is needed. The dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them.