It is the first day of October in a golden year. Under Colorado sunshine the abbot Thay Tinh Man – your basketball-playing monk – told us to practice love as we walked together among the pine trees. Send the Four Immeasurables he said loving friendliness compassion joy equanimity to the earth. She needs your love. We amble in procession behind him at Compassionate Dharma Cloud Monastery, all forty of us. Love flows through the soles of my feet down deep into the earth and miraculously flows back from our original mother.
I step surrounded by sangha. I see the green and golden aspen. I smell the end of summer. I breathe. I try not to think of you. I sink into this body made of dust and ashes and miracles. I am nothing.
But the mind will have its way. In the brief bliss of emptiness grief crashes in like one of the trucks roaring up Highway 285 like waves crashing on the beach. How can I leave my loved ones behind – family friends church sangha? How can I leave house and home?
A silent cry wells into tears and I gaze at the impossibly blue mountain sky, the foam of clouds, the green lace of oak leaves. What can I do but turn to God? Beauty grief gratitude joy wrench my heart open wider wider and I know there is room for all.
Just as I hold you here inside me I shall as I cross the ocean hold all my loves inside me. I am big enough. My pain and my happiness dance together, weave a tartan on my heart, a perfect pattern of wholeness. I take a friend’s hand. We walk under the ponderosas where not an hour ago while we sang songs in a circle two mule deer bucks grazed watching not watching then scampered off into the sun-drenched woods.
Janelle Combelic, True Lotus Meditation, practiced with Lotus Blossom Sangha in Longmont, Colorado and at Compassionate Dharma Cloud Monastery in Evergreen. She recently moved to Scotland to play with the Northern Lights Sangha at Findhorn.