Heart of Life/Coeur de la vie: Day V

Home/Textes/Heart of Life/Coeur de la vie: Day V

Heart of Life/Coeur de la vie: Day V

Not much time to post this morning between sitting and moving on into the rest of the day. Some days are like that…

Magnificent sun in Paris this morning. Nothing can resist the light, the warmth that it offers. And what can each of us offer? Everything!

In Zen, we seek to prepare and offer what we call « the supreme meal, » which is nothing other than our life. How do we make our life the supreme meal? We start by looking at the ingredients. Stay local. The finest meals are prepared with love, care, and local, seasonal ingredients.

What are the ingredients right here in the kitchen of your life? No need to shop around in other people’s kitchens. Your ingredients are perfect. But what are they? And how can you creatively put it all together and share it?

Can’t wait to taste all your meals.

By | 2016-04-15T09:04:40+00:00 avril 15th, 2016|Textes|24 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. Sophie 17 avril 2016 at 21 h 34 min - Reply

    Ingredients of my week were… to be imprégnée by this wondeful heart of life retreat, and/but hardly following the
    « schedule ».
    Once I could really sit at the same time as those of you who could do so, and it was pure joy and peace, to sit, and to sit with you all.
    The rest of the time, I could sometimes sit without sitting…

    Yesterday Saturday, one day retreat, we were seven (women), main ingredient: sitting, within the schedule…
    Others ingredients: Amy’s cat who was the eighth one (female), and green outside the wonderful garden.

    Today Sunday friendship ingredient with two neighbours friends:
    Going with one 88 years old to the Montparnasse cemetery to « visit » her husband who died 20 years ago. As she arrived at the place, she told me « I have a surprise for you », you see those two sculptures, go there…c’était la tombe de Zao Wou Ki.
    And then having tea with the other one at her home, with her cat…

    And now writing to you, and as I finish to write, the washing machine stops, and my cat leaves my laps, probably to allow me to go and empty the machine…

  2. Elizabeth 17 avril 2016 at 15 h 39 min - Reply

    What an experience to do a retiro like this ……
    I had many moments of irritation about myself ,could not do much sittings
    as I had a double work schedule these days ,but from time to time I could be aware
    and it took time to be in peace with (only)that
    I am sure I will appreciate the retiros « life  » together even more!
    Love to all
    Elizabeth Coimbra

  3. Alberto Pereira 17 avril 2016 at 13 h 26 min - Reply

    Last day, the first day
    Le dernier jour, le premier jour
    Último dia, primeiro dia…

  4. céu 17 avril 2016 at 8 h 15 min - Reply

    Je suis très en retard, je le sais… mais quand même
    Vendredi, 15 Avril je suis sortie pour deux jours de travaille et je ne suis plus venus prés de mon ordinateur que aujourd’hui.

    La, a 7h du matin le post de Amy me manquais et j’ai pensée que il y as aussi des moment où il n’y as pas le post et il faut quand même… continuer a faire notre « suprême meal » (maintenant après lire la propose de réflexion)

    Pour mon « suprême meal » en ce moment j’ais un grand panneaux de cuivre et le feu par terre, c’est exactement ça que je me désirais pour commencer a le faire, mais encore j’ai des ingrédients très très forts qui ne passent pas très bien ensemble;
    Ça c’est un dilemme qui jais devant moi á la cuisine.

    une bonne semaine a vous tous

  5. Nuno "Hazy Moon" 17 avril 2016 at 0 h 14 min - Reply

    Five working senses. Plus an ocasional sixth. A mild world around me.

    Coimbra, Portugal

  6. Helena 16 avril 2016 at 10 h 22 min - Reply

    So, yesterday was a rush rush day!
    But I still wanted to come here and greet all and wish you all a great forthcoming days.
    Yesterday in several situation I managed to detach from what was happening and choose how I would react to that, I am happy with myself 🙂 🙂 🙂 very happy I hope to continue to do it, usualy I just jump into saying things….

    It was very good to share this week with you all!
    Thank you Roshi Amy for the wonderfull opportunity

    Helena (today in Porto)

  7. Rita 16 avril 2016 at 10 h 03 min - Reply

    Yes, I know it is not the 15th April anymore, but… Yesterday there was too much work and tasks and notes to take care. After work, packing and travelling to Lisbon where I arrived late and tired. At my parents hme the computer was not an easy toll to use… after so many of that day. So, I wrote my mental comment missing you all while I lean on my small teenager bed.
    I couldnt be with the teaching during the day. When running through the office door some minutes after 6 pm, the youngest Ana said: « Oh Rita, do you know what I need? I need a spiritual retreat! » just like that. I smiled and kept going downstairs wishing all a great weekend. It was very good to be here with all of you.

  8. Telma 16 avril 2016 at 0 h 39 min - Reply

    It’s very late for me, but here are my words.

    I recognize evolution in the kitchen of my life and in the list of some essentials…
    1st, awareness. Six senses in my kitchen.
    2nd intuition. Going with the flow of my hearts blow. Sometimes it’s hard to note the flavour but is always there…
    3rd disattachment. Letting go even when i feel so attached… Even when the wave is too big for me to stand on the surface and all i want is to cook the « always_a_Sucess_recipe » because it’s safe.
    4th time. Respect the Nature in me, respecting me in the nature. Processes take time, have a rythm and Never end, so why the rush?!
    5th confidence. I have a little bottle but there’s always a drop on my cooking.
    6th simplicity.
    7th truth. It may not seem beautiful but once we taste it we’ll probably agree that it is.
    8th silence. While i’m cooking i apreciatte silence because with silence i can mix all the ingredients and create and recreat my to be 5* meal: Love & compassion.

    Thank you for your company. Thank you for the inspiration. Thank you for supporting me as i wish i can support you.

    Gratefully, i bow.

  9. Tiago 16 avril 2016 at 0 h 09 min - Reply

    How funny! I came here this morning, maybe too early, and found no post! I thought that the absence of a « teaching » was the teaching, that’s what sensei was pointing at… I believe I have been reading too many Zen stories, am I not? AHAHAHA
    On the other hand, I love cooking and the metaphor used is very familiar too me. Also as a potter-apprentice, also as a team member…
    Again a quote from the beloved Mia Couto, a writer from Mozambique, « To cook is only another way of loving others ».
    It has been a privilege to read all your entries this week. Gassho.

  10. Gonçalo Moreira 15 avril 2016 at 23 h 37 min - Reply

    My desire to be of service to WE is the main course. Some of the side dishes are music, heart, healing, community, wholeness.

  11. André 15 avril 2016 at 23 h 03 min - Reply

    There are ingredients in the kitchen. Kindness, love, friendship, compassion. But sometimes they are kept locked in the pantry. Sharing is the meal. Thank you

  12. Beginners Mind 15 avril 2016 at 21 h 43 min - Reply

    The meal is being served and we are being cooked by our practice the whole time :-), a continuous flow, were we serve the others with the best of us, the dimension of the serving depends on how developed our compassion is. Sometimes our Egos get in the way and the meal is lousy, other times we assume the etymological « Samurai » and we live to serve.
    Love to all

  13. Kathleen 15 avril 2016 at 21 h 04 min - Reply

    Tired after a long day’s work. Baked a quiche for tomorrow’s retreat when I got home. It seemed important to do that. An offering of ingredients from the life of my kitchen. Too tired to think about the kitchen of my life right now. Maybe tomorrow. Good night, farewell for now, and Namaste to you all.

  14. Cristina (Ocean of Generosity) 15 avril 2016 at 19 h 03 min - Reply

    Que interessante tema para hoje, « Como fazer da nossa vida a refeição suprema? » aqui em Esposende.
    Seguindo as instruções sugeridas, e usando os ingredientes locais, a base da refeição foi este retiro, a partilha, a reflexão, o sentar, ouvir e ler todos as vossas mensagens.
    Acrescento a esta refeição suprema, o dia de hoje que começou com uma grande tempestade e finaliza com algum sol a espreitar pelas nuvens, dia atarefado de compras legumes, fruta, peixe e um pouco de tudo o que a minha despensa necessitava, uma dor de cabeça provavelmente por causa desta tempestade, almoço com a minha filha, abraços beijinhos, discussões, aprender a lidar com uma adolescente ufa não é fácil.
    Para finalizar e como sobremesa, o meu marido voltou de viagem, que saudades, logo de imediato saiu tem aula de ioga com a nossa professora a Margarida.
    Sento-me, respiro e sinto-me viva com um pouco de nostalgia porque este retiro está prestes a terminar, feliz muito feliz por ter participado.
    Obrigado pela vossa partilha, um grande abraço para todos.

  15. Manon 15 avril 2016 at 17 h 02 min - Reply

    Beaucoup d’amitié, une grande douceur. Passer du temps avec des personnes qui me sont chères. Boire le thé chez une amie après les cours, discuter de la journée avec mes douze colocataires, embrasser mon amoureux sur la joue. Beaucoup d’amour. Je suis si fatiguée mais ce n’est pas une fatigue désagréable. J’ai juste envie de me laisser aller. Les discussions dans la cuisine commune sont un doux brouhaha qui me berce. Belles personnes. J’aime votre présence chaude.

  16. zoe 15 avril 2016 at 14 h 50 min - Reply

    Lovely suggestion– that’s all we do almost all the time, except with little awareness. Now, if i were to bring my full awareness to this invitation, i would stay in the underground layers and go simple and raw. The very basic ingredients offered in boundless space, with as much sincerity that i cam get in touch with.

    Looking forward to sitting with other participant’s ingredients tomorrow in Montreuil. It has been a nice peaceful week, mostly in presence for me because of all of you, good virtual friends. Thank you.

  17. Evi 15 avril 2016 at 13 h 58 min - Reply

    A second, because this is one of my most beloved practice field 🙂

    Every day I put a food offering on my kitchen altar. When I put it up, I pray:
    Fire, water, air, earth and space combine to make this meal. Numberless beings gave their life and labor, so we may eat. May we be nourished so we may nourish life.

    When I take the offering back and eat it, I pray:
    Fire, water, air, earth and space combine in me as meal. For the sake of numberless beings I live my life. May they be nourished and so nourish this life.

    Since the Big Bag nothing but recycling 

  18. margarida 15 avril 2016 at 13 h 34 min - Reply

    After a week of emotional storms, I could sleep well in the storm that is still present. Yesterday the day ended with the class of Biodanza (whose line experience is sexuality), this classes are always physically demanding because I try to expand my comfort zones, undressing preconceptions. The ingredient I like to have in my kitchen, is passion, enthusiasm … but it is really hard to put them at the service of others. I have been cultivating a small garden with different types of cabbages, broccoli, parsley, lettuce, spinach, arugula, watercress, beans, beets, and now pepper and tomato. I like to sow seeds and watch the bursting of the land and grow: okra, coriander, zucchini. The garden helps me feel grounded and remember how life is abundant and self-sufficient … and has its own plans, despite my will (to order, how things should happen) my storms (fear, doubt, desire to act). Learn to cultivate gratitude, humility, patience, acceptance, detachment.
    This kitchen metaphor at the end of the retreat is to me a kind of ( zen? ) joke, because precisely on Monday i spent all morning in the kitchen testing a new recipe (try to do a special Portuguese cod pastry … without cod). The ingredients are simple, local and delicious alone, but after trying to cook them in 3 different ways, I had to deliver them to nature.
    Today I’ll make soup of spinach and a salad of lettuce, arugula, beans, radishes and some seeds.
    I keep asking, who am I? Who are you? What power is this Maya?
    When I read all the statements you write down here I feel my heart expands itself in my chest, a tremendous love for each one of you (a special hug to Tomas, Joy and the little Maru)… « How fragile we are »…

  19. marlene 15 avril 2016 at 12 h 13 min - Reply

    Rain. And frog over Alvaiázere’s mountain. My ingredients now. And disappointment for being at my garden’s place and not possible to work on it. With it. But this lies on the surface: as I look closer magnificent greens and all sorts of forms.Even closer: rose buttons are coming. Lillies spreading out . The dog dares to walk smelling around.Heavy drops of water are falling from the roof. And this little book I made with oil colors is now opened 8n front of me. I’ve been preparing it for something I didnt know yet; the answer come when I read this morning Tiago’s question  » when is it home? »In this little book I’ll quote some of the questions we are inquiring during this retreat..

  20. Madalena - Esposende 15 avril 2016 at 11 h 40 min - Reply

    I love it.. Your today’s proposal for our meditation.. Thanks..

    That is my highest purpose and real meaning of life: to cook delicious « meals » with the best of my ingredients and offer them to those in need (the same way others did with me before)…

    Will I ever be able to do it?? To get out of this « material world » and go « where my heart leads me to »?? Yes!! I do believe so, when I will be prepared to..
    In the meantime I still have a lot of « homework » to do, while meditating…
    But I am very glad and grateful just to be aware of..

    What can I offer?? Which ingredient do I have here, right now? Love (pure and unconditional).
    And here are the ones I aim to achieve: the bright Light, Compassion, Forgiveness, Kindness, Tolerance and Non-judgment!
    They are all here, inside of me, I just have to find out how to make them become « real ».

    Then and with all these ingredients, I will cook which I believe will be « the Best Meal Ever » to share with others…

    I thank you All for « Being a part of my life »..

  21. Evi 15 avril 2016 at 11 h 05 min - Reply

    What do I offer as ingredients of my life to life as a whole? Shall I go into this psychological shadow versus light or spiritual holy versus condemnable? No. If I invite guests, I serve the meal with the best ingredients I can find and prepare it as parental, joyous and magnanimous as I can.
    If emptiness is form, what does this life of Evi offer to the Oneness of life, when the little self of Evi goes out of the way? Very interesting question. Uprightness, friendship, devotion to the Dharma and the vow to serve the dying, sick, grieving and those seeking their way; curiosity, courage, rebellion against the unjust and abuse, a lot of laughter and giggle. And for desert we will have a vegan Swiss Birchermüsli Mediterranean kind, so all of you can enjoy it as much as I enjoy your company on this journey.

  22. Joy 15 avril 2016 at 10 h 53 min - Reply

    Ingredients in my kitchen these days seem to be the same-feeding, sleeping and diaper changing-, though it produces a meal that that is enriching everyday-growing baby is the evidence.

    For most of the time in between feeding and dozing off, hard to be conscious of anything with much of clarity. As always, the moment of clarity seems to be a split second, shining briefly and dosing off just like me.

  23. Joa 15 avril 2016 at 10 h 50 min - Reply

    Few days ago, I read in a book written by a disciple of the Indian mystic Bhagwan how he was fascinated one day looking at the Master turning the ignition key, the Master looking completely and utterly present to his action. That simple. I’ve been carrying around that image for a couple of days.

    And yesterday, taking my second dancing class, it felt delightful to witness my body move.

    Witness, the key word. The key action. The ignition key.

    And thank you all for all for sharing your words, which allow to make it easier to connect to each other – and to oneself.

  24. Christine 15 avril 2016 at 10 h 06 min - Reply

    What a beautiful metaphor, the kitchen of our life 🙂 After having dropped the kids at school I offered myself the time to go running in the morning sun along a little river, that was a good start in this day. What other ingredients will appear today ?

Leave A Comment