Friday, July 22, 2011

Sitting and Talking

This morning's intensive class turned into a chance for us all to reflect and to express ourselves, our grief, our understanding, our lack of understanding. One thing that was said by several people was that David didn't know, or couldn't properly take in, how much he was loved, and I know how this was true; he would deflect such talk, and perhaps laugh nervously. He was loved because he had such a big and genuine heart, as many people have said today, along with the sharp brain that caused him to suffer. One person followed this up with a wish that we all allow ourselves to believe this of ourselves, that we are loved, just for who we are, no matter what we may think.
I was glad that we got to go back to the zendo at the end of the morning and in the afternoon, allowing ourselves to settle on the cushion. Other than that, my day involved giving lots of hugs, which I found easier to do, and perhaps more mutually beneficial, than trying to give voice to my feelings.
This evening, a community meeting in the dining room. We formed a circle of chairs like we do for residents' meeting, only there were maybe eighty of us, and we made an unwieldy shape filling the room. Which did not stop it being a very intimate ninety minutes, sharing our presence and holding our experiences together. We do intimacy very well here, but as was pointed out, this does not prevent us sometimes being too busy to stop and connect with each other in a meaningful way, ways that can make a huge difference to the person on the receiving end.
For me the most touching moment was when Ren read out the wonderful benji poem that David had written for her, which someone had printed out; I was in the zendo at Tassajara when David read it, three and a half years ago, and I heard his voice and saw his mannerisms. Paul spoke last, more personally than abbatially, and reiterated what he said at service: isn't this what we do - sit, be open and raw? We ended with a refrain from Leonard Cohen, a big favourite of David's, and then of course the Refuges, deep and sonorous in the circle.

The old Birdhouse, where David lived at Tassajara


Sandy's witterings said...

Shundo, your community seems particularly good at helping each other through these hard time - perhaps once everywhere was like that. Perhaps through your blog you extend that community. Either way, you have my sympathy too.

caren said...

Shundo, thank you for your gracious and thoughtful words these past two days. Your blog has been a nice place to go during this loss. It was an honor to attend the meeting last night, and the response was quite a testament to David. Indeed, he was loved by us all, his family, and everyone whose lives he touched.

Shundo said...

Thank you both - I have been feeling a little like the village newspaper, wanting to describe how it is in order for the people who can't be here to feel included in what is going on. Perhaps once everywhere was like this indeed - I think people feel so strongly about community because it fills such a deep need in us.

Jiden Lynne said...

In a 2005 dokusan with Tenshin Reb Anderson, he once told me "You don't see the love that's all around you." That has been like a koan for me, rippling through my mind over the years. I never met David, but it sounds like we suffered from similar blindness. This has touched me deeply. Thank you, Shundo, for sharing these details.

Shundo said...

Thank you, Jiden. I once heard Reb saying something similar to someone who complained that she couldn't feel connected with people during sesshin, and it has stuck with me.