Kayla McClurg gives us a way in when she writes: “Listening longer than we might prefer, noticing the unexpected, giving up control and the need to know, leaning into the uncertainty and stepping up anyway—these are practices of hope. These are how we wait for the Light." (“Waiting For The Light,” Church of the Savior, www.InwardOutward.org. )
This past weekend I was Buddhafied. I hadn’t sat zazen in more than fifteen years but when I saw this retreat posted on the Cloud Cottage webpage, I felt inwardly called. Ticht Naht Hahn has been in a coma with a brain embolism since Nov. 8, and the weekend of chanting, silence, and meditation was devoted to him. I needed it for me but I trusted that whatever he needed from me he would get through the ethers.
Friday: six PM to nine PM. Saturday: from the pre-dawn dark of six AM all the way through to nine PM when my left knee cap was whining loudly. Sitting. Meditating. Chanting. Nothingness. Emptiness. Fullness. Forcing the body to be still makes the mind come to rest. Certain people began arising in my mind’s eye, particularly my ex-family, my exhusband’s seven siblings, whom I still love but have no contact with. And then certain moments about Corey's passing came up. I won’t describe them here (saving that for the book that this blog is a part of). Apparently, they were scenes that I needed to review but couldn’t look at alone because of the pain involved. But in the dark stillness of my mind after a dozen hours of meditating, meditative walking, and chanting, there they came: the most painful moments of my entire life. The strange thing was, I found myself looking at them with gentleness, as if viewing the scenes through a beautiful window. It was spontaneous healing. The grief is still abides…but the portion of it that felt almost sinister has been extracted from the center of my gut and now lives in the distance, in some field of compassion that I didn’t know existed before.
Thank you Judith Toy for holding this retreat. It was a great honor for me to be the one person who accompanied you through the entire weekend as others came and went. The immersion was much needed and I hope that in giving up some of my suffering, I did a good thing for your beloved Thai.