The Next Buddha is Sangha

Deep August Dharma….

My birthday is August 15th, and when I was young it always came with mixed emotions…the joy of a birthday came as a signpost that summer was coming to an end.

The deep days of August hang heavy with humidity. My mind gets slow, the fan blades seem tired from turning all summer and the drone of it’s motor clouds my thinking. The late August lifeguard watches over the pool with indifference. The watchman hasn’t quite the energy for enforcement.

The cicadas, katydids, and crickets rise to their full symphony making the world seem even slower and infused with tropical mystery. The front lawn has surrendered to the clover. The sound of a distant mower lacks the enthusiasm it had in the Spring. Exercise and meditation come with indifference. It almost doesn’t seem worth it. I give in to just staring. Sitting on a bench by the water is good enough. Curiosity and ardency may rise another day, but today I’m content to lazily ponder the sky.

But just as it seems we are in the deepest, swampy dog days of summer, the first signs of Autumn begin to appear….

The mulberry bush sports three or four red leaves, while the leaves on the oak tree have become old, brittle and wood-like. Yesterday, for the first time, an acorn on the porch. Then this morning, a few more acorns and one broken open by a squirrel. It makes me pause when I see it. It’s 88 degrees outside and yet here come the first acorns.

Impermanence surrounds us. We are in it and of it. Deep in the throes of one season lie the makings of another. The signs are all around.

I’m noticing it’s this way at New York Insight this week. Deep in the slow days of Summer here at the center, with its light weekend schedule and Friday closings, signs of Autumn vitality are beginning to appear…

The current “Summer Appeal” will yield new mats, cushions and books later this Fall. Invites have gone out for new volunteers and practice leaders, and responses are coming in. The September calendar, fully loaded, went to the printer today. Gone is the three month “Summer Calendar” on one sheet. A full schedule. Wonderful classes coming up, booked weekends, new ideas to be tried, and folks we haven’t seen in a while showing back up.

As Summer abides, Autumn arises almost unknowingly in the heat.