I heard the hoo-ing of a dove while I was sitting in zazen this afternoon. It was my second sitting of the day, the first at my usual 4:54 am awake alone in the sleeping house, straight back chair with attached cushion in the dark living room. The second this afternoon, in the studio, blessed time gifted to me for a few hours. My zazen lasted 18 minutes this morning, I noticed the phone clock when I became still and again as my eyes opened when that felt right. In the studio I set the 15-minute meditation gong timer on my phone, so no doubt of a quarter hour.
The second sitting, I noticed, was quieter even considering the difference in the world’s activity – or lack – between 5am and 2pm. And the attendant noise. The world is woken up and busy with its business and I enjoy some of those interactions, though mostly with wild animals and flowers – like the two ducks, perhaps a ‘couple’ for life, afloat on the little stream of runoff along the bike trail beside Johnson Creek – enjoy not so much the human kind, though the pre-dawn alone is filled both with quiet grace and missing the wife. Possibly this is a reason for my sitting in zazen now these last 12 or 13 years, to open space for attention, and, I don’t know, maybe an aha.
I can tell you, Blog reader, there is barely anything like it, the sitting in the chair on a cushion, the bowing once to the cushion before taking my seat and glancing at a time of beginning. The bowing nine times to the cushion when zazen ends. Even when the racket is wild in my mind, I’ve come to understand it is not, zazen, scored on how absolutely incredibly yogi deep in a cave still, heart rate down near 40 I become. No, I can arrange and manage and figure shit out about every San Diego Padre game for the entire season, wild diamond mind, and I sit in zazen and I notice all of that and it’s good. Quiet. Or. Electric. I believe to sit alone, still, aware of my body, aware of the internal sound, is good.
Like hearing the dove outside the studio and cars traveling the surrounding streets and the creaking of the studio itself, the wood, the roof, the window glass, you know what I mean, old scary stories, the creaking noises of the haunted house, maybe alive and generally not in a good way. Yet, it is what it is. The noticing. The morning is quiet, yes, but me, not so much. The day is awake and busy, though the afternoon light finds me more still.
I don’t believe this means anything at all. Honest. Just a simple story – a boy, his chairs, a dove, the Padres, our studio sounds, floating ducks. Yeah, I sit in zazen, every single day of my life since I began back in North Truro on Cape Cod in the April of 2008. How’d I get so lucky, I wonder, never mind amazingly blessedly lucky to still be here – 72 years old and I woke up again today, which, excuse me, Fuckin’ A.
But lucky, as well, just sit, do nothing. Walk, see ducks.