Saturday, December 3, 2011

Head On Fire

As expected, there were a lot of things to wrap my head around for sesshin, and before I tackled it all this afternoon, it felt like an amorphous mass to to try and get into shape. I noticed the familiar symptoms of stress - a tightening feeling in my head, and of course in my shoulders - and found myself making mistakes: last night as doshi, I picked up my zagu after the first three prostrations, before realising where I was - my concentration was much sharper after that. For nenju today, as kokyo, even though I felt fully present, I managed to leave out the line "We are to practise constantly as if to save our heads from fire". Maybe because my head was already on fire.
Nonetheless, after lunch and a good dose of coffee, I sat down and pretty much sorted all the lists out in two hours, before turning to the myriad other details - wrapping new oryokis, distributing doan instructions, making sure all the chant sheets are in the right place... right now, sitting down for a moment after dinner, there are just a few loose ends to straighten out, though I will have to bathe and shave my head after the Refuges tonight.

Here is the list of attendance variables that I had to work with - as you can see, I was exaggerating slightly before; this is just over twenty people out of the sixty...

Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues 
Away Monday
Friday Saturday
Kitchen Sunday, Fri am
Missing Mon Tue pm, Thurs am, Fri pm
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
Monday, Wednesday Thursday pm
Mornings only
Mornings, Friday Saturday
Not  Tues am or Friday all day; kitchen pm
Not evenings
Not Saturday
Not Tues am or Friday pm
Sunday Tuesday Saturday
Sunday, Saturday, weekday mornings
Tues - Sat pm kitchen
Tuesday evening - Saturday
Two days of work somewhere
Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat 
Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat 
Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat

With all that, I haven't had the head space to prepare myself for the fact that I am mostly going to be sitting a lot for the next seven days. Maybe once we get past the first day, it will start to sink in, and I will get a little chance to settle before I need to start preparing for Buddha's Enlightenment.
Back in a week...

The maple tree in the courtyard probably peaked yesterday


Ruth said...

Exhausted just reading that.... good luck with it all :-)

kelly said...

i remember thinking on saturday your nenju voice sounded more in the body than you usually do, and it was a good sound. maybe it was just sickness, maybe evidence of presence (even if your head was on fire)

happy sesshin, its nice to think of all of you quietly in the zendo while im at my busy office.

Sandy's witterings said...

The beauty of lists - sometimes it's all the thinking that need doing. Leaves a little head space for admiring the maple - very lovely.