One evening a couple of weeks ago, I got all philosophical and preachy about the zen ideal of "ceaseless practice" in an email to a longtime Dharma Buddhy of mine. The next day I sustained an injury that has me hobbling ahead using crutches. Now, I have to navigate up and down the rather steep stairs here at home with as much moment to moment mindfulness as I can muster--or else!
I spaced out for just a milisecond or two yesterday--and had to jump down the final two stairs to keep from taking a nosedive. Ceaseless practice? I have to practice Walking Meditation now each time I grab the crutches. I have to slow down and pay attention. I can't get lost thinking about what's next or I might bust my butt. My current predicament makes "taking it one step at a time" crucial. I don't want to be buying a stairway to heaven just yet.
Years ago in sesshin, one of my teachers spoke of the intensity of practice at times that the stakes are really high. He called it "rattlesnake zen". I think I understand what he was talking about a little better now.
I also feel a deepening appreciation of single steps and thousand mile journeys--and of clouds and silver linings.
That being said: I successfully climbed and descended the stairs at Community Yoga the other day--and will begin Monday Morning Mindfulness tomorrow, Monday May 7! You're invited to join me on it's maiden voyage. Bring your zafu if you have one. (The studio has a variety of bolsters, blankets, blocks--and chairs). Beginners are more than welcome.
The exact nature of what happens will depend on who shows up!
(Come to think of it, it's really always like that anyway, right?)