Sunday, April 10, 2011

An Update From Busy

There has not been much time for blogging lately. I have missed it, and you all.

The baby, I am pleased to report, is healthy and doing fine. Gabriel, the older brother (almost 3 years old), is still working through some jealousy. He does not blame the baby for this, and even gives him kisses.

We are all in the same boat in one respect: with the arrival of baby, everybody's routine has been upended. For instance, my morning practice routine has been pushed later, and as a result Gabriel is often up and walking around the house while I am still sitting. He plops into my lap and asks for milk. The day begins.

Of the scarce time that is not taken up by school and family right now, I have been devoting more to the developing local Zen group, which is now incorporating as a non-profit so it can have a bank account and solicit tax-deductible donations. Deming has quite a few empty storefronts, some of them very small, and so we are doing some lazy shopping, seeing what's around, thinking what might be possible and how to pay for it.

Zen Master Seung Sahn gave advice to parents who practice long ago, and one of his recommendations was to remember not to divide "my time" from "family time" or "work time" or other things. This is a very dangerous use of mind. "My time" usually points to desire. I wish I could read that book that's been sitting on my shelf ("my time") but instead I have to go play ball with the boy ("family time") and then do homework ("work time"). Waaaah, I'm not getting "my time." The advice was to think of all of it as "your time."

Yet even this is an illusion. Time is an illusion. The next moment is not guaranteed by anything. The time to connect is right now.

Despite the interruptions in the morning, I've had an opportunity lately to notice some laziness that crept into my sitting. The body was not arranged quite as meticulously, hence not breathing quite as fully, hence not really giving myself 100% to zazen. An aspect of me was biding time. Getting on the cushion and staying there for half an hour is not the point.

As time appeared to become more precious, it became a useful illusion insofar as I desired to stop wasting time and do the formal practice with more care and respect. Doing it with care and respect means to put all the other concerns away and sit with meticulousness and ease, permitting superficial energy to find its base in the tandien and fill it up with the full power of the breath.

This actually makes sitting easier -- and it does feel good, although that isn't the point.

As school wraps up, there will be time for more writing and more blogging. These updates will become more frequent and, as always, your comments and discussion will be welcomed with gratitude. Take care.


Kelly said...

Nice to get an update from you, Algernon.

I found that if I don't have some "me" time that I'm not much good in my "family" time. Of course I try to make sure God get's my time, too. That affects ALL my time.

Hope we see a photo of the new baby at some point.

Algernon said...

Photos of my family are a sore subject around here.