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Volunteer for a Year Part 4: Quies

There is a way between voice and presence where information flows.

In disciplined silence it opens. With wandering it closes.

Rumi (Selected Works, Penguin Classics Pge. 32)

Lama-La encourages us to practice more, and to consider doing so in silence. Tuesday is my Dharma Day at the Centre. This has been disrupted of late with the winter break and catching up with family. Fitting practice and silence in between has not had the same contemplative and calming effect of a full day from waking to sleep. A whole day is quietening. Restorative. Important time out as I really do enjoy meeting, greeting and talking to everyone at the Centre. It is so easy to get carried away. I feel like this regular noble silence is a reminder to greater mindfulness. My text is blunt about chatter.

A lot of talking just brings quarrels, act as if you were dumb.

Words of my Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche; Ch. 3 The Defects of Samsara Pge. 98

This does have its challenges for me at the Centre. I am and remain fully present for my volunteer role. My life-learned skills, knowledge and competencies with their innate call for efficiency and effectiveness push and pull me to keep me on top of, and be involved in, every, little, thing. I am keen to know, to do it right, to be engaged, to show up, to show off? Mmm. My hand goes up a lot. Sure, some of these qualities can be useful on the path. Still. I must remember. I am here to practice.

No action will be of any help; put accomplishment into practice.

Words of my Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche; Ch. 3 The Defects of Samsara Pge. 98

And this is where the community rises. For all the busyness, laughter, quarrels and confusions in keeping the Centre functioning, it is meeting colleagues in the shrine room that keeps the balance. Thank you to the Ngondro practitioners. Thank you to the visitors who sit on the cushions. Thank you to the Sangha who bring and share their diligence as they pass through the Centre. Thank you to dear friends and family in Zimbabwe, so far yet so very close, for seeing the edges of the lake that I cannot. Thank you to all who build this community of practice.

‘This is easily my favourite place’ said the mole. ‘Why?’ asked the boy. ‘Because you are all here’.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

February is the month of love (so they say). In next months article, I will share a little of what I learned from a first date at the dharma centre, and other conversations.

Much love and courage, Katrina


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