Far away.. and yet so close
by Angie Shinnyo Nickol
I had always felt like there was something missing in my life. Roshi once said that a sense of "unfulfillment" brings us to the practice. That is true for me. Unfulfillment, the feeling that something is not quite right, is what probably brought me to Los Angeles in the first place. While living there, my husband Kanshô and I found this kind and great place, the Hazy Moon, where we instantly felt at home. We realized very quickly that THIS is what we had been looking for. About two months later, we had to move back to Germany, but not without having taken Jukai beforehand. Since that time, we have come back to the Zen Center as often as possible.
I've just finished a two-week Sesshin at the affiliated Black Scorpion Zen Center in Mexico. I had never even considered traveling to Mexico, esp. since I love the United States and California in particular, but if the Hazy Mooners are going to Mexico, I am going with them.
Without the intensity of the Sesshin and Roshi's patient guidance, it wouldn't have been possible for me to start to see how my egocentric mind is messing with me, how it operates, and that it can attach to ANYthing but stillness. "Relax and release anything.. ANYthing". It was very calming for me to learn that my ego mind has no power on its own; if I don't allow it to take over, everything is easy and just beautiful. It really hit me when Roshi said "Don't THINK (!) about practice.. PRACTICE". No matter what life throws at me, I just have to DO my practice - it is the answer to everything. Isn't that a relaxing thought?
I'm back in Germany now. It's harder to practice when being on your own, but it can be done, and I feel very encouraged by listening to Roshi's Dharma talks online and simply by being in contact with the Sangha. Even if there are almost 6000 miles between me and the people at the Hazy Moon, through the practice, I always feel connected with them. I can't wait to come back "home" to Los Angeles for the next Sesshin.
Gassho to all of you.