Posted inDharma, Valerie's Messages

Message from Valerie: Return

September 20, 2023

I follow the stream to its very source, then sit and watch where the clouds rise.

 ~ Wang Wei, 699-761, record from a retreat at Mt. Chungnan

The Autumn sesshin at Mountain Cloud just ended. Throughout, the words ‘homecoming’ and ‘return’ kept surfacing – inviting us to follow the stream of experience to its source. 

What is that? Where is it? Can it be anywhere but here? 

One of our guides was a verse from Shitou’s ‘Song of the Grass Hut Hermitage’: “Turn around the light to shine within, then just return. The vast, inconceivable source can’t be faced or turned away from.”

On the last morning of the sesshin, a participant messaged: “The line ‘then just return’ was so present in my morning meditation, and I’m wondering about its potential multiple meanings. ‘Return’ as in homecoming, to turn again home as Tennyson says. And then there’s ‘return’ as in returning a library book: giving back, letting go, releasing that which is not—has never been—ours.’ 

An evocative description! It’s what we do every time we sit. Coming home, again and again, and releasing, letting go, giving back what was never ours.

Alongside these aspects of practice – and flowing from them – is the return that realizes, never left home. No coming or going. Nowhere to go. At the same time, everything completely new.

Thanks to each one who helped to make this sesshin possible!

With gratitude and love, Valerie

Photo by Nazar Sharafutdinov on Unsplash

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