Retreat in the Heart of Life, Day II

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Retreat in the Heart of Life, Day II

With the first flickers of light in my eyes this morning, I begin my meditation by acknowledging all those with whom I share this retreat week.
There are all those who have sent email confirming their presence. There are those with whom I sat last night. There are those in the house with me at this moment, my family and the cat, not sitting. And the workers who built the floor under my feet and the carpenter who made my bed. And the neighbors sitting and not sitting. And the people in the bus passing in the street. And the driver. And the men cleaning that street. And the people who threw the paper, bottles, cigarette butts, chewing gum in the street that the men are cleaning up.
I’m cold now, so I put on a sweater, and now the person who sold me the sweater is included, and the person who stocked the sweater on the store shelf, and the persons who transported the sweater to the store, and those who made it and conceived it, and those who produced the wool, and the animals who gave the wool, and the people who raise those animls, care for and feed them, and the families of those people and their friends and their families and… As I open the circle of participants, I can’t find anyone anywhere who is not included. I am grateful for them all, and for each and every one.
Then time is up for me, time to move on to another retreat activity, and another and another and another…

By | 2017-04-04T06:58:15+00:00 novembre 20th, 2012|Retraites au coeur de la vie|17 Comments

About the Author:

Enseignante Zen et poète, Sensei Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell est née et a grandi à Minneapolis, aux Etats-Unis. Arrivée en France en 1981 pour étudier la littérature et l’histoire, elle y est restée, s’installant à Paris, où elle élève ses deux enfants et gagne sa vie en tant que journaliste. The Zen teacher and poet Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell Sensei was born and raised in Minneapolis, but came to France in 1981 to study literature and history and has lived in Paris ever since, raising her two children and making a living as a journalist.


  1. litle lake 22 novembre 2012 at 19 h 21 min - Reply

    i will be "lying" with you all – for now.

  2. michelange 21 novembre 2012 at 18 h 28 min - Reply

    travelling to amiens by train for work for 2 days – zafu in bag and all of you in my hi speed heart on rails of steel……..! 🙂

  3. j 21 novembre 2012 at 2 h 20 min - Reply

    Minor domestic incident at the start of the day. Major stress. Where as it all gone now? Was it real? Is the memory of it real? Is it real now? Even the questions come and go, answered or unanswered. Very helpful, the clarification of the meaning of "including everyone". Thank you.

  4. Wisdom Beyond Wisdom 20 novembre 2012 at 23 h 23 min - Reply

    My days have been too busy – going from one place to another, working, talking to colleagues, stressing about my tasks, studying, going to classes, writing, going home, cooking, eating, studying and writing again… Now stopped a few minutes to come to an interview and to see how everyone is doing in the retreat.
    When I knew about this retreat in the heart of life, I think I wished it would be in a calmer week… I even thought, today, how nice it would be to actually be in a centre, in an “normal” retreat. But then, it would no longer be in the heart of this life, right here where I am. As Sensei says, “whatever it is, the whole mess!”
    Many times, when things seem to be too much, too dificult, I’ve been trying to remind of the last of the four vows. The Buddha Way is unsurpassable, I vow to attain it. Somehow (even if I don’t understand it)… it helps me to get along, to trust what is happening.
    To you all, a good retreat.

  5. Lisa 20 novembre 2012 at 23 h 10 min - Reply

    and thank you…

  6. Lisa 20 novembre 2012 at 23 h 07 min - Reply

    a sense of calm and connectedness, knowing that you are out there but here as well.
    Including all, how difficult sometimes though…
    good nightxx

  7. Blossom 20 novembre 2012 at 22 h 39 min - Reply

    its fuller – all –

  8. michelange 20 novembre 2012 at 19 h 32 min - Reply

    the above exchange reminds me to include other beings not only out in the world but within – obscure fears, nameless dread as night falls…like now. How many times have I run from it, denied, ignored it. This exchange, this wide armed welcoming retreat is also an opportunity for me to embrace the nebulous and its expression.

  9. TdE 20 novembre 2012 at 19 h 13 min - Reply

    Coming home from a longlasting conference with no positive results I am quite happy to find you all here, sharing silence and sitting. Thank you.

  10. Tiago 20 novembre 2012 at 19 h 04 min - Reply

    I had a question with me all day after reading your words in the morning. I had a question but now it was answered – "To include means to become aware of the presence of unity". Thank you.

  11. tu es cela 20 novembre 2012 at 17 h 56 min - Reply

    To include means to become aware of the presence of unity (which we can also call the presence of the absence of separation): I and the slave laborer in East Germany, I and the East German head of state, I and the IKEA entrepreneur, I and the Israeli soldier, I and the Palestinian militant are one. "I" and "you" are different manifestations of the same nature.

    To include means to become aware of that and of the interconnection, the interdependence, of all beings and things. When we recognize that and when we recognize the unity, we also see the origin of harm (suffering) and naturally feel compassion for those who are hurt and those who inflict hurt.

  12. Adriano 20 novembre 2012 at 17 h 43 min - Reply

    Last night I shared the sitting with my students. A small practice… but a powerful feeling of oneness.

    This morning my sitting was shared with my baby child… just layed down in the living room carpet alongside of him. there is something powerful in these little Beings, a stillness. No words.

  13. Adriano 20 novembre 2012 at 17 h 40 min - Reply

    Last night I shared the sitting with my students. A small practice… but a powerful feeling of oneness.

    This morning my sitting was shared with my baby child… just layed down in the living room carpet alongside of him. there is something powerful in these little Beings, a stillness. No words.

  14. michelange 20 novembre 2012 at 15 h 40 min - Reply

    Early morning sitting and study group this morning with friends at Dana Zen Center. Quite painful on the legs, but stayed present with it, opened up into it and out into the sharp, chilly streets, the metro, the city. Meanwhile, in Gaza…

  15. Christine 20 novembre 2012 at 15 h 36 min - Reply

    Just sat for some time after an almost 2 h nap, trying to recover from two more or less sleepless nights… our two small kids having the yearly infections coming along with the cold days.
    Busy times with lots of decisions to take (we’re about to buy a house which up to now is only walls and a roof, everything else to finish ourselves…), busy mind, not easy to consider all of this a retreat… something in me revolts "that’s not Zen"…

  16. Hugo 20 novembre 2012 at 14 h 32 min - Reply

    Being occupied for some time sharing information that I find relevant to others on Facebook. What I am trying? What I desire to achieve? Why am I select this info and reject another? "And if you work for a while?" I am asked by my wife. "And if this is also work" – I reply.

    A friend is organizing a culture festival and tried to make some promotion photographs trying to grab an image of endangered cultures in Timor Leste. We later discuss how to grab an image of an endangered traditional culture once culture is something so dynamic and always changing, receiving and adapting.

    Later in the night I sit and listen to the neighbors watching the soap opera and to the little lizards and to the small rats outside. They are also being along.

  17. marta santos 20 novembre 2012 at 14 h 12 min - Reply

    I’ve heard yesterday in the news that until 1989 IKEA furniture was made by political prisoners in the former GDR/German Democratic Republic (or East Germany). There was a video where some of them were describing their suffering at the time. Till the 1990s the North of Portugal had an alarming percentage of child labour, namely in the shoe-manufacturing sector (children worked at home, alongside their parents: the shoes were frequently for exportation to Italy, and from there to other foreign countries).

    Even if one tries to be a conscious consumer, it’s not possible to track down the origin of all products that surround us and that we use in our daily life, in the West. Even a sweater may contain a hidden history. How can I include it? And, assuming I already did it (the moment I started wondering about it), how can I be grateful to all these people: the political prisoner, the foreman, the gaoler, the IKEA representatives in East Germany, Honecker (East Germany’s Head of State), and Ingvar Kamprad, magnate and philanthropist, founder and presumable owner [1] of IKEA?
    How do you do it? Can you show me the way?

    [1] both IKEA and Kamprad reject this assumption. Kamprad transferred his interest to the Dutch-registered Stichting INGKA Foundation and INGKA Holding as part of a complex tax sheltering scheme, so he isn’t officially owner of IKEA. INGKA Holding functions as the parent company for all IKEA stores, though.

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