The beginning of one of my favourite months of the year.
Evening at Chithurst monastery with two friends for the dhamma talk which follows some chanting (in English tonight) and forty minutes quiet sitting. Probably about fifty lay people and twenty monks. The talk was by the Abbott, some pointers for meditation practice. He always surprises me with his worldliness, speaking of browsing the internet, walking through London. A monk’s life is not entirely how I imagine. I get distracted a little from the talk by the monk’s heads. They fascinate me, their shape and hairlessness.
Afternoon at home. Made another intros video. That’s musical intros not dating intros. Discovered that youtube let it be if you use less than 30 seconds of a song, and anything over that gets picked up by their musical analysis algorithms and a copyright notice is given. They seem to let that slide to a large extent too, saying there is a claim but they will allow the video and that they might put an add next to the video. This is just a download link to iTunes. I’m enjoying selecting the music, discounting anything with vocals or voice samples in the intro, and doing it letter by letter. Today artists beginning with D.
This morning hiking with Roland who is visiting Brockwood for a little while. We drove to West Meon then hiked along the old railway then up to Old Winchester Hill. Our usual route. Chatting about this and that, seriously and light heartedly. Usually we are talking about women by the time we reach the top of the hill. After a break, we posed for photos up on the old hill fort.
Alarm is set for 0630. Want to try a regular wake up time now that it’s only getting a little light around then. Starting an Iyengar home course – more about which soon.
Half an hour from Brockwood near Chithurst is a monastery. A Buddhist monastery of a forest tradition. I don’t know the name of the tradition or founder. This evening a few friends and I went to their Saturday public service, with chanting, silence then a dharma talk. I’ve been a few times but not for a few years now. They have a (local) traditionally built meditation hall with oak beams, a stone floor and a big white Buddha. The moment I sat down in the hall my head felt different. Lighter, easier. Tingles spread from the temples, across the sides, top and back of the head and across the forehead. It remained for the two-hour session, the drive home, and is here now. I noticed, sitting in the hall more energy for awareness, attention, the same thought patterns more ready understood and with less power behind them. Tightness slipped away and there was a clean listening. Stepping out of time, falling out of time allows for a reset of accumulation. We all felt something in that hall; not imagined. The talk was given by a monk of twenty years who had just returned from eight months in the woods.
One friend was telling us about the time he was staying at the monastery and a group of physical special need pupils visited. (Sorry I don’t know if that is the PC term). Apparently one of their teachers was interested in Buddhism and had asked the Abbot for permission for them to visit. They entered the grounds, usual various behaviour of their bodies, shaking, rocking, dribbling, hitting, moaning (and good stuff besides, no doubt). They came to the meditation hall and at the routine time, the monks started their chanting. Very soon a girl who had been smacking herself in the side of the head stopped the smacking. Rockers stopped rocking. The children became very still. The teachers could hardly believe what had happened. Afterwards they said they had never known or heard of anything like it.
Some spaces have a very powerful affect, particularly those used for one purpose and with sacred intention.