Breathe in Some Peace

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Writing is a lonely business, I’ve said that more than once on more than one post, but also writing is an often frustrating area of expertise in which one spends many hours staring at the same four walls. For the kind of fortunate word-smith who is able to diligently go about their work in social settings, or even perhaps successful candidates of the art who live in more than one room, the matter might not be so blatant. On my part however, in one-room with a desktop computer, unable to work under distracting conditions I’m hit with the same view everyday. Towards the afternoon when the sun faces the window, my bedroom gets stuffy, particularly at this time of year, and with recent creative struggles, a claustrophobic feeling where the walls begin to close in sometimes takes over. During the day, it’s not something I can easily escape; mostly my haven is the library, but I have no laptop, and their computers are in limited supply; in order to get things done I’m better staying at home. Recently, I discovered that the cafe can double as a sitting-room when it is not open, and was assured by the head nun here, that using it as such is perfectly acceptable. For the past few days I’ve been signing off at about six-o’clock and heading upstairs to read in the quiet. And in an environment where I’m more likely to run into social interaction.

Today I summed up my meager attempt at writing at half-seven. I had work earlier in the day, and that lackluster feeling of weariness had begun to edge into my being. I took myself and my current read (Fool Moon, second installment of Butcher’s famous Dresden Files) up to the settees in the cafe. In the meditation room next door the members of the FP classes were in the midst of a puja, chanting the prayers of the protector Dorje Shugdon. Occasionally, a bell would ring, inviting the presence of the Buddha to the centre. Half-reading, half-listening I sat in the peace, in the gentle afternoon sunshine coming in from the garden. Another gorgeous day blossomed today, with air so hot it carried the smell of warm earth. If the day had sprung a voice and sung in human tongue, I’m sure it would have sounded like this.

When the puja concluded, those who had participated with the chanting filtered out into the cafe to enjoy the spoils of tsog and each-others company. Anna, one of the centre managers and not the Anna usually mentioned, invited me to join in their meal, a selection of sweet and savory treats laid out in decorative dishes and styles. I’m one of three gluten-intolerant individuals residing at the centre so there was plenty for me to enjoy. Fruit and chocolate, spiced with beautiful conversation about swimming and summer, and the upcoming courses in September, with people I haven’t seen or spoken with in a time, because I dwell in the basement working; perhaps I push myself a little too hard, neglecting the spiritual and mental well-being in favor of my ambition. I contemplated this thought today, entertained it for the first time in a long time. I’ve decided not to force myself to write on Sundays, because I have meditation and shrine duty in the mornings, and then often end up chatting well into the afternoon with the members of the class. On Monday I will assume my usual writing schedule, but I’ll take the evenings off to go upstairs, shed the skin of my bedroom, and breath in some peace.


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