holiday – talk with a monk

Soon after my last entry, I met with CH. We talked for maybe forty-five minutes, about a few things – my anxiety/panic about practice, mainly, for which he gave me a few good ideas to get over it. He certainly is a talker – I had already both experiences it and had been warned about it – but I could honestly listen to him for hours. His presence is incredibly calm and content – very Zen, of course – and at the same time totally real and down to earth. (He shared his similar issues with anxiety.) His voice is tranquil and soothing; he talks slowly, always thoughtful, breaking for a smile. One interesting thing is that he always maintains eye contact. Me, I tend to get distracted, what with my obsession with eyes and all, and so will occasionally look down while talking or listening for brief periods of time. At one point while I was doing that, for perhaps more than the few seconds I usually do now that I think of it, he leaned down to his side to cause me to look up to keep his eye. It was a bit weird, but kind of nice, too – I could feel the total commitment he was giving to this time, to me, more than I was giving, I’m sure. Though I tried, I found myself going back and forth from wondering how I would process his words afterwards and concentrating too much on the present, trying to get as much as I possibly could out of those moments of being with him.

But that tends to be my pattern. Whenever anything good is happening, I try to absorb too much of it to the point where I’m not enjoying it because I’m dwelling on what I’m missing. With CH today, it wasn’t so bad. So, I am improving, at least intellectually.

After that, the two of us took HC Sunim to Providence, where she had been asked to participate in an interfaith ceremony for peace. It was pretty weak, but an interesting experience and besides, we saw Mario Hilario. On the way back we all wanted to go out to eat, so we ended up at India on the East Side. Ate a lot, got free dessert, and came back.

Oh yeah – CH agreed with me on the journalling thing. :) They’re not allowed to write at Kyol Che (an intensive, three-month long retreat), though – goes along with the not-speaking thing. The point is to process your thoughts without the luxury of being able to express them, to let them out physically. Can you imagine that? I only wish to strive to that point. But then I hope to always have a notebook handy to sneak down some words if I have a really good thought or two!


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