|Written by Phap Man|
|Monday, 01 December 2008 14:03|
Dear Teachers, Dear Friends (who want to wake up :) )
I want to wake up too! I’ve been little shy to enter back into this computer world – scary! But OK – it’s time to wake up.
I’ve been really inspired watching what has been happening around this “movement” and I’m really stoked on what you (we) are up doing. Every time I look at this wakeup blog I feel a lot of gratitude; just seeing Thay’s calligraphy and the beautiful sunrise over the earth gives me a lot of hope. To hear about what folks all over the Earth are doing to bring joy, peace and healing to ourselves and our home is very inspiring.
We’ll I like conversations and I like questions, so here are a few. (I’m supposed to be writing about our recent weekend adventures, but I’ll get to that.) I have been asking, “How can I really wake up to this miracle of life taking place all around?” And, “Is this really helping me to wake up?” Also I’ve been contemplating some words that I find to be very choice: something like, “I came that you might have life and have it to the full.” And also, “You are the light of the world”. How can you have more life? It seems to me to have something to do with shining this light of awareness, and lighting up the world.
I’ve noticed lately that the light gets a lot brighter when we are together and rejoicing and relaxing and playing (or praying) or being quiet together. So that’s what this seems to be about. I’m very grateful for that. About six years ago, an organic spontaneous community of friends (we would say “stokers”) came together and this was my first spiritual family and they really made it possible for me to come to Plum Village. Now it’s clear to me that I want to support others on the path of “growing” communities – I want to continue my first spiritual family! (Hello there dear spiritual families.) I see that community is such a precious element of full life, of waking up.
So as for the monastics involved in this movement, I’d like to report that we are practicing the art of picnicing and being together. Last Last weekend a group of us took time to be together. I don’t know how much planning and organizing was done (a lot I guess, thanks!) All I heard was “we’ll meet at 9:00 in the morning and go to this spot where there are a lot of chestnuts and it’s very beautiful.” I asked, “Do you know where it is?” The response, “No but someone knows.” I said “OK”. And someone did know!
It was a lot like that. Everyone seemed to contribute a little bit -- all I did was bring chocolate and take a lot of photographs (which I enjoyed taking, even though many didn’t come out very well!) The day seemed to flow along very spontaneously and unfold very wonderfully. In the morning there were a lot of grey clouds; I looked at the “weather forecast” on our Internet phone, it said “heavy clouds”. I thought, “hmmph, clouds aren’t heavy, they’re very light and beautiful” (even if you happen to be inside one and it’s raining on you). So I said to myself “don’t worry” and smiled.
After a bit of skillful navigating we seemed to spontaneously arrive in a very beautiful village. (Of course we stopped by the side of the road to drink tea along the way; drinking it while the van was moving was causing a lot of tea to be spilled on Br. Phap Linh). The Sun was out and shining. So much for the weather report. Everything was bright and shining and looking very alive. It looked perfect all around. After a brief “sangha meeting” in which many views and options were freely shared, we decided to take the eight km walk then come back for our picnic. Walking through the forest we were stopped by chestnuts everywhere. After about half an hour we reached St. George du Montclard. The church was open. We all went in and sat down. We enjoyed the peace of being silently together. It was easy to relax.
We continued on. After another half hour a picnic table appeared (next to a spring whose water reportedly would change you into a rabbit (?) – we dared Thay Pittaya to try it, but he declined and just smiled a lot). We realized how hungry we were; luckily there had been an apple tree along the way and we had some biscuits, chocolate and of course tea. After a lot of laughing we continued on.
At some point we realized we had not walked very far at all (we were stopping to enjoy too much!) Being just a little little bit hungry, we enjoyed to walk on through many beautiful spots – more quickly – but still very mindfully.
Back at our start we prepared our picnic. Homemade bread, cheese (only for this special occasion), veggies, mustard. Simple. Delicious. Croissants with Nutella (bio=organic) were for desert. Not much time to nap or share more (it was hard for me to let go of these favorites) or even roast chestnuts. We walked about the town a little. We saw the stock and the “dungeon” (in my imagination, used for badly misbehaving monastics) . I saw a clothesline behind an old building that just seemed to light up the whole place with color and the reality of washing clothes. It seemed to have a lot of life. I thought to myself, clotheslines are cool. (OK I’m weird and that’s a side remark to beg folks to please please let go of electric clothes driers and enjoy clotheslines more.)
Well, it wasn’t always what I expected, not so planned; at moments I found myself thinking, “we should do this, or it should be like that, or I should have done that.” Then I realized that everything was, as it always is, exactly perfect, and you don't have to “should on yourself.” heh.
brother man (full of it :) )
P.S. This was so much fun, we went back to the same spot the next weekend for our novice day (a lot of novices, a lot of chestnuts!) It was perfect again. And we got to roast some chestnuts. The church was still open.
(I’ve recently been inspired by The Phenomenon of Life, the first book in a series called The Nature of Order by Christopher Alexander, which talks a lot about what makes life.)