Upaya Zen Center, Zen & Dharma

Everybody leaves

vintage-luggageA resident left today without saying goodbye. She packed her bags and got on a train bound for California. Going home.

This happens.

We are a tight little group and it is shocking when someone leaves, whether we expect it or not. They leave a hole like a pulled tooth. But soon the gap heals over, and we continue chewing comfortably through our lives.

This too is part of our practice in this little petri dish called Upaya. People come and people go. At first we are strangers, and then we get used to each others’ charms and idiosyncracies and neuroses. We quickly become fixtures in each others’ lives. But then just when you come to really know someone, to be familiar, maybe even to love them in a way—they vanish. The mailman who comes to the door every day, the barrista at the favourite coffee shop, the roommate, co-worker, partner, lover. They are always there, until one day, they are gone.

Our practice is intimacy. Our practice is to share experience with someone fully, to live out a relationship in complete  integrity—whether that means weeding a garden together, or cutting someone’s hair, or creating a family or a lifetime together. Relationships are valued through quality, not duration. Our practice is to relate without stinting. Without grasping. Without reservation and without fear.

In the end, everybody leaves.




2 Comments on “Everybody leaves

  1. Yes, we all leave , pick up the threads and start again . But maybe we have grown just a little in wisdom and compassion. Your lovely blog has inspired me to write about my recent retreat , five weeks in the mountains of Switzerland . A setting that is as close to a winter paradise as is possible. But you always take your shit with you , and out it comes for another airing . But people can be forgiving if you can trust the process and mend the fences. Have you come across the video GRATITUDE by this Christian monk on TED TALKS . Have a good year . PLG tony

  2. The monks must have dealt with similar feelings when one of their fellow monks followed teachings to other monasteries. We’re all still connected anyway. This is how we share our presence with each and learn from each other. Who was it that went home?

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