I went to the Portland Dharma Center tonight. Two periods of zazen (sitting meditation) separated by kinhin (walking meditation) followed by a Dharma talk. Having been sick with bronchitis for the past two weeks it has felt like forever since I'd been there. I felt good just being there, which struck me as funny at some point this evening.
As a rule I've felt so uncomfortable in groups that I've covered it up with persona and distracted myself. Since I don't do that anymore I spend a lot of time acutely aware of my unease. To have a group I feel comfortable with, many of whom I've been seeing for a few years now, is unique.
Hogen afterwards commented on how bright I seemed, happy. I told him that I was happy to be there. That I missed everyone. It isn't that practicing at home doesn't feel good, yoga or zazen. It feels like my practice and I always am glad I do it, but the energy of practicing with other people cannot be replaced.
Smiling that present, bright smile Hogen called my attention to something I hadn't considered. He said that I was missed too. The particular energy that CK and I each bring to the sangha is noticed, missed when we are away.
It was very touching to me to hear this. In the same way I find it too easy to skip over myself when doing Metta practice I find that I don't consider that people might miss me. Regardless of the fact that I notice when sangha members are not at the Dharma center and I miss them! To interact with people happy to see me, glad to know I am well enough to be with them, and be focused on this by my teacher was a lovely gift.
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