I’m back from my weekend Sesshin in Dallas where I was the grateful cook and practitioner. I arrived Friday the beginning of the second day ( it started Thursday early evening) I felt like a rock being tossed in a river, it was difficult at first to find the current but it didn’t take long for me to be taken into the flow. The weekend was spent with about 12 people in silence. During our Zen chores however some words just couldn’t be avoided, that way no one cleaned the sink with toilet bowl cleaner and basic things like that. Each day I had a couple of kitchen helpers and we prepared the meals mostly in silence.
Preparing the meals was a meditation practice in motion and I became aware that cutting vegetables, cooking meals intentionally to provide health, strength and nourishment was a gift I could give to others and to myself. Most meal preparation was done with a feeling of absolute gratitude that I can serve in this way. Some but not all of the vegetable and foods I brought I had grown myself and again the gratitude I felt was very strong. Peeling the carrots, washing the dishes was part of this practice of being completely present.
I don’t want to go off in lala land too much with you but the weekend was splendid on a many levels. I Can’t wait to have the opportunity to do it again. Back to the real practice of being at peace in the real world of politics, polarizing conversation, war, death, starvation, paying bills, ya know LIFE. I do have the advantage of living and working a pretty isolated life. I can turn off the radio, and the internet, I don’t have a TV. I make choices of the things I want to bring into this day. I am completely aware of this gift of such an intentional way of living. It is something I do not take for granted at any time.
So back to the practice of farming. While I’ve been gone my partner Linda has taken care of everything! and I am so acutely aware of the gift of having such a loving and affirming partner in this life, this is something I do not take for granted at any time. But all was well on the farm. The critters were all perfect angels I am told, and the house was clean, that’s a big plus! The challenge has been the heat. Temps have gone back up. Before I left I planted 10 fall beds so I don’t know what my germination rate will be. I’ll know in a day or two if I will need to replant. I seriously hope not but what are you gonna do? Replant.
Today plans for the week will be made and the day will flow just like all the others, my shoulders relaxed and my breathing a little steadier.
During our afternoon sits we would have a tea ceremony. This ceremony comes from when the samurai warriors were about to go into battle. They knew many would not return. So they shared the simple act of drinking a cup of tea together. This ceremony is an important part of this Zen practice. Just drinking the tea. The words our teacher read after rang like a bell through my head the whole weekend:
“Let the tea teach us about tea”