8:20 Wake up again. (In Zen this is called gradual awakening. I've always believed in it.)
8:45 Pulling the compression sleeve on my lymphedemic arm, I accidentally sock my jaw.
9:00 Take vitals. I am alive. I thought so.
9:05 Get on Vine of Obstacles, read Forum, answer another student with a post that includes one of the few things I know for sure - you have to have a semi run into your house before you will start to meditate. Then, if you're a woman, it's going to take twice the effort, because you've been trained to take care of everyone else, and don't get above yourself. I don't have to go into a tirade about how Oprah and the other marketers make a lot of money by convincing you that what you need is a $100 haircut and a pedicure. Most of us eventually figure out that that doesn't work. Also, an old saying in feminism is "To get anywhere a woman has to be twice as good as a man. Fortunately, that's not hard."
Actually, on one of my early Zen retreats I was walking down the residence hall when I saw that someone else had left her door open. There, neatly laid out on her dresser, were four pairs of earrings. I thought, being new to all this, "Are these people Zen?" Some of the women wore full makeup every day, too. It turned out that -9:30 Done with coffee. Time to put the post-it sign on my study door and do my practice. Not that sitting down to meditate is the practice. The practice is . . . umm . . .Well, sit down, shut up, and pay attention is fundamental. But the "pay attention" part is supposed to keep going. Pay attention all day long, every moment, every step. That's the practice, as I understand it now.
(a) Most were Catholic, drawn to this retreat because it was at Grailville and was led by a Jesuit Priest/Zen Master. And -
(b) Zen is not about what you wear.
(c) Not everyone gets that. When I went to a "real" Zen retreat, the other students all wore black and did NOT wear earrings or makeup or ever look up at the flowering trees. Was that Zen? Now I was confused.
|In case you didn't recognize her above, here's a more usual view of the beautiful Pema Chodron, who got liberated and then got liberated.|