For this morning’s Buddhist service, rather than sitting in the shrine room we went outside.
We spent forty minutes snaking single file around the temple garden, slowly placing one foot in front of the other. The gravel was sharp and woke up my bare soles, and then the dew cooled them. A robin accompanied us with her confident song. We paused to bow to the big Buddha in the alcove, we bent over the pond to greet the tadpoles, and as we passed the temple bunnies we offered them raspberry leaves through the holes in their enclosure.
On returning to the shrine room, we sat quietly on our cushions for a while. The silent was sweet. It was soaked in colour and scents and shapes and sounds and it was pleasing like the weight of a baby or the fur on a cat’s belly.
When I can walk through my days like this, everything lights up. After service we had a volunteer day, and I was still full of light as I scrubbed a dirty toilet, ran up and down the stairs and tried to keep track of the seven different things I was doing at once. I was full of light as feelings floated through – disappointment, gratitude, amusement, frustration, joy. I’m full of light right now as Roshi cat tries to curl up small enough to fit in front of my laptop, purring like an engine.
Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes we have sharp gravel under our bare feet, and sometimes cool soft grass. Don’t forget to slow down and listen to the robin singing. Don’t forget to open yourself up and let the Buddha fill you with light.