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I am sad to say that I am leaving a beautiful community of practitioners and budding friendships. I will probably continue to sit with them occasionally, but I will be across town, and let me tell you, it is quite a difference – living above a Zendo vs. living a couple miles away. I worry that the busy-ness of life will catch up with me over the summer. However, I will make an effort to attend. (The Sunday sessions are great – tea & zazen & chanting & walking shamatha.)
It has really been a beautiful year. My past semester went well, despite my abundant amounts of time spent on extracirricular subjects – organizing Buddhist teachings, scrounging for clients and odd jobs, teaching Metta Reiki, etc. I know I was and am affected by living within such close proximity to the Zen shrine room (I sleep right above it). There are many, many blessings that I am ever grateful for.
There was something else that was most peculiar. Starting around April 20th, a bat came to the window of my shrine room and would hang out in between the screen and the storm window (outside the actual glass window). It would sleep and hang upside down – which I guess is normal for bats. I have never been so close to a wild one in nature, and it was quite a unique experience. It was fun to be saying prayers for the benefit of all sentient beings and having one be right there! (Note I attempt to live a lifestyle of right livelihood and disciplined ethics, but I have a long way to go!) [Revision on 10/28 – last I heard, the bat was still living in the Zendo window. Yay!]
The bat came and went, off and mostly on, for about four weeks. Some of my friends practice shamanism, and they said the bat was there for me. I believe them. Of course, that does not tell me why! But, it was definitely an unusual circumstance – and there are about eight other windows it could have chosen – why the shrine room window? I wonder if it was also taking refuge, sleeping within sight of numerous Tibetan lamas and Buddhist images. And yes – you heard correctly – I had my Tibetan Buddhist Shrine set up in the house above the Zendo. There was a little competition or complementary sharing going on.
Now I am about to move out. Two doors having been open for a time and they are now closing as I discover new ones. What significance to you, if any, does a bat indicate?
In my opinion, the bat was indicating that I need to listen better, to take more time resting down – way down, possibly upside down, and that it is time to make and take the appropriate and necessary space to face my shadow. Perhaps one day, I will be able to “fly around in the dark,” without fear. (What I think I mean, is that one day I will be able to meet perfect strangers, who embody personalities, which in the past might have pushed some of my buttons, with fearlessness and graceful equanimity.)
By the way, I asked its permission before snapping the photograph. I believe it was okay to take its picture.
In closing, I am heading out of town for a couple weeks. If I do not get to post anything before then, thanks for reading, and I will definitely have a lot to share when I return – around June 11th. Have a great week!