Some things are tucked under chairs, other stuff is just sort of dumped, bringing back memories of how as a child, I dumped everything from school at the front door and ran into the kitchen for Mom and cookies!
Now it's Meditation and enlightenment....is there a difference?
I robe up for Liturgy in a room at the opposite end of the hallway, and oftentimes, people are still coming in when I am robing up.
I quietly collect my thoughts, recited the Vow of the Kesa, and stand immobile for several minutes, simply breathing, one hand cupped over the other at the hara, that place of balance and energy just below the navel, as Sensei has taught me. He said in this position, breathing, one is rarely nervous or off center.
When I am prepared, I walk slowly toward the meditation room, picking my way through what everyone has left in the hallway--last week it was like walking through a maze for a guinea pig, or stepping over and around--lots of stuff. And I surprised myself by feeling a smile blossom on my face, easy and relaxed and so happy to see this disheveled pile, because this is almost like seeing the sitters themselves, and I know they are waiting quietly, perhaps spread out in the same sort of random pattern on their cushions and chairs, anticipating a shared quiet and still space.
I know with this much stuff in the hallway I'll need to wend my way carefully to the Butsudan, and probably open the space with someone sitting at my bare feet, perhaps with my robe brushing their folded legs.
Once I worried that my feet were probably dirty--that was near the end of the summer and I didn't want to wear shoes all the time, and the soles of my feet seemed perpetually filthy! But that one time that I did worry, I noticed that several of those sitting also had summertime feet, and that too made me smile at the time!
Of course, it is one of summer's greatest simple pleasures, going barefoot.
As I suspected, there were 15 or 16 people in the small room, around the perimeter and in the center, so coming in to open the Butsudan was a particular mindfulness practice--slowly, with great care, feeling my robe brush against a shoulder, and turning to bow with a big smile on my face!
A place of welcome.