Thank You Wendy

Wendy sent me a cool email last night. It was a link to this site and a mention how I had been in her thoughts lately. That's always pretty cool, that someone has been thinking of you. And for someone to be thinking of me in a positive way no less is a nice change... wait, she didn't say they were positive thoughts now that I think about it. Maybe I jumped the gun there a bit. I do that.
Anyway, the topic of the day at this site brought back a memory for me.
During my time at the monastery there was a month where the residents meditated straight on through the day. Hour after hour we immersed ourselves in total silence. The basic idea to get closer to stillness. To learn how to go with what life gives you rather than trying to make it give you what you seek.
There was one attendee, there just for this particular month, who took it upon himself to go into the yard during each daily brief break and participate in some yard cleaning that ended up being enormously loud. I recall one moment in particular where I and two other attendees were watching him out the window. We were all rather taken aback by his self indulgence in an activity that was clearly an annoyance to everyone else around. I remained silent in my observance but as the head monastic joined us to watch the commotion the two others took this opportunity to voice their extreme dissatisfaction with this man's activity, suggesting that he say something to him.
It was at this time that I had a Satori moment (a flash of understanding). I saw a quiet smile trying not to escape from the monastic's lips as he listened to the others' complaints. He of course listened politely but what he was hearing was not how disrespectful the man in the yard was being but how little we had come in our attempts at breaking our desires.
We had allowed noise to get the better of us. Instead of sitting back and observing and accepting what life was throwing at us at that very moment and practicing at staying calm in unideal situations, we were trying to get life to throw something all together different at us.
And that was the source of the monastic's smile. In fact I highly suspect that he had set the scenario up, providing us with an opportunity to check ourselves. Afterall, it is easy to be calm and serene when your surroundings are such. The real challenge is to remain in that same state in the midst of chaos.

Thank you Wendy for the email, link, thoughts and the trip down memory lane.