Touching the Heart Mind

In a few hours time, I’ll be seated on a zafu and zabuton at the Temple, where I will sit for sesshin until Monday, rising for dokusan, sleep, kinhin, and to serve meals.

Outside, the sun will set and then rise to shine through autumn-colored leaves while small animals collect winter food. Cars and trucks will move down the road in front of the Temple as people inside them tune radios, make phone calls, and converse with friends and family.

Farther away, my wife and children will shuttle back and forth to soccer games and gymnastics, laughing, running, probably arguing too. We may take tea at the same time, not seeing but perhaps knowing.

Each of us will chase thoughts before stumbling upon moments of rest. We will cry. We will take breaths and release them, feeling the air around us, shouting and whispering.

8 thoughts on “Touching the Heart Mind

  1. becomingbuddhist

    I would love to hear more about what this is like–being away on retreat while your wife shuttles the kids about. Does she meditate as well, do you ever change roles? Is it easy to let go of home? For some reason this dynamic/situation really fascinates me and I wonder.

    And I hope it was a wonderful sesshin (those words sound wrong, but I think you understand what I mean).

    1. bussokuseki Post author

      Your questions point to so many ways in which I have struggled. She is a spiritual person and sometimes meditates, but she is not a Buddhist, so it has a different position in our lives and weight in mine.

      In this way, too, we don’t typically change roles, which leaves me feeling guilty at times. In times when I want to be with my family more, I chose to leave them behind (and completely out of communication, of course) for four or eight days… Hmm.

      Having said that, she understands it well; she knows and explains to the kids that it is a “good thing for Daddy to do”, which is in itself a gift.

      It is incredibly difficult to leave them all, and simply to leave. This past sesshin, I had just left the house and was driving towards the Temple thinking about how that very moment was always so challenging. Having just left, wondering to myself, why am I doing this? Then my phone rang and it was her – She wanted to know the best way to clean the cast iron pan we had used for dinner. I had left, and there she was. It was quite raw, in a beautiful way.

      The kids, I think, understand less. They are fascinated that I might spend all that time not talking and eating oryoki style, but it is difficult to understand. I don’t want them to feel like I have left them behind…

      Such wonderful questions. I might perhaps, answer them again as they change… Thank you so much & be well~

      1. becomingbuddhist

        Thank you so much for the answers. I worried it was too much to ask, actually, but I wanted to ask anyway and let you choose whether or not to respond. My own practice is so small, but it still takes me away from my family sometimes and I know that’s…complicated. I love the idea of the cast iron pan, that small need, reaching you before you were unreachable…

  2. Michael

    And everywhere, beings will be held by the gentle embrace of silence, breathing aimlessly or consciously- no matter- and some, like I am now, will wonder- how did I get to this moment, here, and find myself confronted by such beautiful writing? I would like to master the art of finding such moments.

    1. bussokuseki Post author

      Thank you so much, Michael, for your wonderful, beautiful comment. I am much belated in offering my thanks…I am grateful for your words. Be well this day~


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