Zen 101

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Team Zen: Race for the Cure

This morning's race was very interesting. I have never done a run with sooooo many people involved!!! There must have been several thousand people doing this race! Geeeezzzz. We were squished in the middle somewhere and it took nearly a mile for the runners/walkers to get a spread so that we could navigate to the outside and start actually running.

The course was absolutely flat and wound through Biggs Field, an army airbase near Ft. Bliss, Tx.

I thought it would be cooler than it was, but the temps climbed quickly and it was getting pretty hot by the end of the race. The start time wasn't till 9:00 AM and they had a very late start.

Team Zen was represented by six members of our Zen group, as well as one of our member's (Roberto) wife and two kids.

Jerry, Shoji, and Rev. Judy Harmon took up positions near the front where they found Roberto, who apparently ran with a stroller! (I was too far in the back and never saw them during the race.

I decided, since I am racing again on Saturday in New Orleans, that I would run along with Bonnie, one of our new Team Zen members. This was her first race. We did a 3:00/1:00 run/walk ratio for the first two miles or so...couldn't get much of a thing going during the first mile due to the massive crowds.

Dodging walkers and kids was an exercise in mindful practice, let me say!

I invited Bonnie to go slow the first mile, faster the second mile, and faster still on the last mile...depending on how she felt. All along the way there were cheerleaders from local high schools. We thanked them all as we passed them by.

On the last mile, we decided to pick up the pace and do a 00:30/1:00 fast run, fast walk ratio. Bonnie's knee began to bother her a bit and we slowed at the end, but finished with a nice form in a little over 45 minutes (between 45 and 50), I think. There were some starting issues that distorted the whole timing thing with so many people, such a late start and all. I could'nt see the clock at the end, started my GPS a couple of minutes late...so, who knows? Doesn't matter, we really enjoyed the experience!

One of our Team members, Shoji, finished in just over 28 minutes!

After the race we all stopped at a local restaurant for brunch and to enjoy our companionship.

It was truly a good thing to do this race.

See ya!

Be well,

Saturday, February 19, 2005

On Not Chopping Wood Today

Every morning after zazen I step outside and split wood with my maul. It weighs eight pounds and I am used to the feel of this piece of metal as it splits the twisted rounds of cedar we use to cook with and to heat our Refuge deep in the mountains of southern New Mexico.

I am a zen buddhist monk. A married priest in the Soto tradition, who has just split away from his home Temple to create his own.

Today, however, I am on the road, in a city where there is no wood to chop. My hands are empty.

So, instead, I sit at a friend's computer and create this blog.

I wonder about the nature of this empty hand. Idle, I am suffering. People who live in this world of convenience, who live without moving their bodies much, do they have a sense of the deep and intimate connection of body and mind that hard, concentrated work provides?

I am reminded of the story of an old zen monk who failed to eat one day. He as ill and did not work. Alarmed, his brother monks asked that he eat. He said, "No work, no food." Simple elegance.

May we live in peace.