Satya writes: WhDinner in Franceat makes a place home?
I’m writing from our Buddhist retreat centre, Eleusis, three hours south of Paris in the middle of nowhere. I feel perfectly at home here.
I have been coming here for four years, and have shared this space with people I know intimately, and people who come from all corners of the world to join our community for a week or two. It is a pretty special place.
During our morning service today in the big old barn I was wondering about what makes a place home. My first answer was that home is when we become intimate with it, and care about it. When we can find many things to love about a place and about the people in it.
There are lots of wonderful things here that are easy to love. We eat together every morning and evening at a big table, and the food is delicious. We care about each other. The land is clotted with beauty – there is a bamboo grove, bright flowers, woods, fields, water. Last night we gathered around a new shrine to Aphrodite that our dharma teacher had built, and warmed ourselves around a crackling fire while Wobbe played a Japanese flute that mimicked the wind and wove magic around us.
But this isn’t the whole story.
There are also biting tics here, which burrow into your skin and have the potential to give you limes disease, which is very serious. I pulled one out of my leg last night. There is only one shower (just off the kitchen) and it dribbles hot water where you don’t want it to. There is some kind of creature nesting in our room, and it makes strange noises during the night – wah! wah! wah! A few nights ago an escaped dog barked outside our doors until 1 a.m.
And of course, when you live in close proximity with lots of other people, you are going to bump into parts of them that you don’t like (and vice versa). We have group discussions, and things get very heated. Sparks fly. We disappoint each other. Some people do more work than others. We want different things, but we are in a community and so we have to reach some kind of consensus. Being intimate with other human beings is HARD WORK.
So my second formula for home was – home is where you can know both the darkness and the light of many things intimately, and love these things all the same. Tics, old dishcloths, the smell of the carpet when doing prostrations, dodgy internet connections, fresh bread, bright green lizards, the smell of lavender, the breathy sound of the flute. Our kind heartedness, and the reality of our grasping greed. The fear and the warmth. Our most awful parts, and the shining potential in each one of us.
Much love to you all. A love that reaches both your light and your darkness, and accepts all of it just the same. Deep bow. _/\_
“But I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.”
~ Vincent van Gogh
I’d love to hear where you feel at home, and why. Do visit our blog here and leave a comment.