Zen & Dharma

The circle of the way

DogenMindfulness and a respectful heart in each moment are applied equally in meditation and other daily activities incuding work, interaction with others, and cleansing one’s body. Practicing and living in this way helps us to clearly see, understand, and value what is right before us as none other than the wholeness of life itself. As Dogen says, even our eating bowls are the body and mind of buddha ancestors.
-Kazuaki Tanahashi, Dogen reader

I am trying to spend these days in continuous practice. Cleansing my body takes time and care. It is best in late afternoon when the water in the hose runs hot and i can scrub my feet, my armpits, my back, with a soft brush and the hand-shaped soap Nora made.

Cleansing my body is yoga and meditation and walking in the forest. It is preparing my meals, and oh man am I eating well! I take time to prepare my bus grub. Lunch was sautéed zucchini with herbs and parmesan, a fine big beet boiled with butter, and eggs plucked warm from under the rainbow chickens and scrambled with onion and tomato. All vegetables from the farm garden. I carry my plate to the top of the bluff and eat slowly. I wash my pan and my dish and spoon, dry them and put them away.

Cleansing my body includes caring for my home. Cleaning my bus, tidying, arranging flowers, scraping and priming and painting. My home is my body too.

I cleanse my body through my bike ride to Hollyhock, where I ferry guests and their gear to their rooms in a golf cart, swab calamine lotion onto their wasp bites, and soothe their anxieties (you are locked out of your car? being stalked by a cougar? found a mysterious cantaloupe in your fridge?). I wipe down the coffee bar and sweep sand from the deck. I skim the waves of politics among co-workers, smooth the waters as best I can. I observe my own waves of bitchy discontent as they rise, crest, and fall away.

I sit, I eat, I bike, I walk, I work. What more is there to do? Continuous practice is the Circle of the Way.

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