I think that, like many people, when I first came into practice, I came into it for myself — to lessen the suffering/dissatisfaction that the Buddha described in the First Noble Truth. Now, after many years of practice, something has shifted. I’ve been thinking about what it means to sit, whether you sit by yourself at home, with a sangha, or as I did yesterday at Friends For Life, with three other people, or just with one person. Can you do Sesshin with one other person? Can you do Sesshin by yourself? “Yes” to both of the above. You never know where or how practice ripples out. When a student comes from a college because he/she has to write a paper and perhaps is only meeting the requirements of the course, you still don’t know how that affects the person. Why did that person pick Zen to investigate? Perhaps not today nor tomorrow nor even next year, but at some time, the instruction and sitting will resonate. Perhaps it works even when we don’t know it’s working. Nothing is ever lost.
And so, now I feel compelled to share — to just sit with those three other people, people whose lives might be vastly different from mine — yet, we just sit and it ripples and ripples and ripples.