Social Sunday

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I used to work a regular Sunday shift which cut straight into the middle of the day. Sundays at the centre are active; there’s a morning class and a residents lunch, and I do the daily shrine offerings. Unfortunately, I missed most of that day to my job, so I lost opportunities to speak to other Sangha, and to enjoy a communal meditation, and being as my week is mostly spent alone writing, I was beginning to feel the effects. I asked my boss if I could change hours and have Sunday off, and a compromise was struck with some of my work colleges, so we each take one Sunday shift a month – that I can deal with. Streaming into something of a point, today was the first Sunday I was able to return to being an assistant for the Sunday Meditation Class.

It’s been sixth months since I’ve been able to even attend a class. The student sessions I used to assist with were canceled at the end of last year, and every other assistant placement was taken, so when the Sunday class position opened up, the centre managers asked me and I was very excited to accept. Meditation classes actually attracted a varied crowd, in and out of the buddhist community, and I have a great deal of fun just meeting and greeting at the door. Half-an-hour before the class was due to start, I opened the door and sat beside the pay-table, waiting. The morning was beautiful and clear, and the park opposite the house sat beneath a blue sky; high trees marking the skyline were shaking in an intermittent breeze. In a great many cultures wind signifies change. I was thinking about Rosie, one of my housemates, and how next month she’ll be departing for greener pastures. Her replacement is a man named Rob, who attended the class today. We’ve met a couple of times when I worked the cafe when time still allowed for such things, and who I sometimes see through my window sitting in the cafe garden. Still for all my curiosity about him, I didn’t know much about him. He’s beautiful, in a gentle masculine way; from what I’ve come to understand, his mother hails from the Philippines, and another relative from Hong-Kong, though I could have my facts wrong. His skin is a natural bronzy-brown, and his eyes a striking hazel in shade. I didn’t think he’d taken too much notice of who I was, but as soon as he came through the door he commented he hadn’t seen me in a while. I’m telling you this, hypothetical audience, because I have been inspired by his unique appearance, and I want to remember it in just this way, while its fresh in my head. He’s also a very friendly person, so living with him should be good fun.

After the class, we then sit alongside the teacher and the attendees and converse. Usually, after a cup of tea and a few biscuits and some light-hearted chit-chat most will drift home, leaving a handful of us to get a little bit more philosophical. Such as was today, when the teacher Ben and a couple of PGCE students had a debate about attachment. Finally, I was able to spend a great deal of time around people. I took a listening role during the debate, as did Rob from what I could see, and a newcomer whose Polish name escapes me, and a very mature 13-year-old girl named Tabitha – she, the Polish gentleman and I had been in a lengthy discussion about Plymouth schooling and the disciplining of students.

Easily a better Sunday than those spend toiling the till at a retail establishment.

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