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It’s day 53 of lockdown, I think! After some days of torrential rain last week and an amazing storm with sheet lightening that illuminated the house one evening we are today basking in the sunshine. Bodhipakshini has gone to Valderrobres to do the shop, Mumukshu is on the phone with our president Maitreyi and Satyamuni is cooking lunch. I’ve just attempted to make ciabatta for the first time, but it’s looking more like a simple loaf of bread rather than the airy loaf I was after…tastes good though.
The time seems to have been passing fast and we’re often amazed to find the evening has arrived before we know it. The relativity of time appears heightened during this period and dependence on human created time of minutes, hours and days seems somewhat irrelevant, other than when we want to ensure we join the Order in the bodhicitta practice or phone friends and family who are expecting a call at a specific time. What would it be like to live a more spontaneous life with less clock watching and settling solely into our own natural rhythm? Many of us will have had an experience of this on solitary retreat, but as a collective it’s an unusual event. Without covid-19 we’d be regulating our week around vegetable shopping, team meetings, talks we could attend etc. For now we have a loose structure, endeavouring to continue our Spanish class twice weekly, although self led, a business meeting once a week and community night. Add to that the bodhicitta practice twice a week (both the full Order practice and the Spanish speaking Order) and the week flies by.
We’re very aware of how different our experience is here and how the lockdown has only had a small practical impact on us and our thoughts do turn to others for whom it is a much harder time. Even within Spain we were lucky in being able to walk outside whenever we want in this vast and beautiful landscape. It’s only been a week since others in the country have been allowed outside to exercise and enjoy fresh air and space again, and as many in Spain live in flats it will have been a long time since they walked further than the supermarket around the corner. Last night one of the older male ibex with his huge horns was just outside my window chomping noisily on the rough plants and grass. Being so close to nature is one of the many delights of life here. We’ve enjoyed seeing videos on the news of animals coming into towns and cities during this time, such as the kangaroo in Adelaide and the beautiful goats in Llangollen. We don’t know if the ibex have ventured anywhere near the village!
This month we’re all taking part in Vajradarshini’s wabi sabi and the lakshanas course online, so it’s fun to take beautiful photos of not conventionally beautiful objects and share them with others doing likewise. There have been some fantastic images. There’s so much to chose from online, which is wonderful, but almost overwhelming at times. This seems like something manageable around other projects on the go here, such as a pizza oven being built outside, reorganising the shrine store at the retreat centre or constructing a bender so we can more easily sit outside in the baking sun or the pouring rain. We find enough to occupy us as well as plenty of time to relax, read, walk etc.
Wishing you all well in these continuing strange times.