Thursday, December 9, 2010

Late Night Metta Practice

I was lying on the futon in my living room, reading a book. The heat had just come on, and I was snug under a blanket. It was almost 10pm as well, late enough that I was winding down and could have easily went to bed soon. All in all, it was a quite comfortable position to be in. And looking out the window, knowing it was not much warmer than 5 degrees F (or -15 C for most everyone outside the U.S.), the idea of getting dressed and going outside wasn't too exciting. But then I thought "You just wrote that post yesterday, so stop thinking about it and just go!" So, I did.

At one point during my walk, I stopped and stood on a hill overlooking a hospital. My grandmother had been in that hospital last year after some heart problems, and as I looked at the windows, some lit up and some darkened, it occurred to me that there were a lot of people on the edge of life and death in that moment, not just those right in front of me, but everywhere in the world. I wanted to sit down and get into zazen posture, but it was just too cold. So, I stood completely still instead, offering metta to all those in the hospital and around the world who were on the edge of life and death.

And you know, I stopped feeling cold. I mean, it was still really cold, and certainly my body was probably getting used to it, but as I stood there in that late night darkness, warm and cold just kind of dropped off. Everything I'd been thinking about lately also was gone. There was just standing there, breathing in and breathing out the world as it is.


peter said...

Pure presence with the heart wide open. thank you, nathan.

zendotstudio said...

nice! inspiring!

Algernon said...

When Dongshan and that anonymous monk were talking about going to the place where cold kills you, they weren't talkin' weather. Beautiful teaching from you today. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Nathan - I just love this post. It is so beautiful and evocative. Wishing you much joy and peace in the new year.

Dean 'Jagaro' Crabb said...

Mate, now you are talking! Excellent post. One of your best ... well since I've been reading. This is what I love about life and Buddhism ... in that moment, there it is! ... plain and simple. It all comes together in this living experience.

Jagaro (Dean Crabb)