It’s Saturday, and I awoke this morning to a thought, having no idea where it came from. Generally, as I open my eyes in the dark and stretch out my legs and back under the duvet, my thoughts are about should I or shouldn’t get up. I am an early riser doing a combination of practices, Yoga, Chanting, Qigong, which is split at 6 am with 30 minutes of Online Zazen. This morning was different. As I opened my eyes, my voice was there right at the front of my forehead, asking me as clear as a whistle, ‘What do I want to get out of today?’ This type of thought is pretty rare for me, the kind of question I hate if asked by trainers on self-development programmes. I am not the type of person whose to-do lists and goals come quickly, and I don’t fall into bed at night thinking not to sleep if I haven’t completed all my tasks.
Laying in the darkness, the question was so luminous that I had to offer some sort of response. I repeated the question to myself, What do I want out of today? My stomach sinks into the mattress, a reluctance swamping me, a weight keeping me pinned to the bed, a list appearing in my mind, an endless archive fading into the darkness. The clock has run down, and it was time to get up and go with the day and see what it presents. The problem is that the question doesn’t reseed. It hangs around for much of my morning practice; finally, a moment of lucidity appearing during Zazen. ‘What do I want to get out of today?’. I want to spend several hours with the kids giving them my full attention. I want to speak to my Mum on a zoom call and give her my full attention. In fact, what is crystal clear isn’t the need to just be with the kids or listen to Mum; as I usually do, flicking through my phone or sipping my coffee, it is something way beyond. A feeling of completeness, a wholeness that would allow me to evaporate and for them to absorb my consciousness, feeding and thriving, taking what they need. What I want to get out of today is not only to give but to give unconditionally in a way that is rarely possible in a world of distraction. Wow, so simple, so easy, so much fun; play with the kids and enjoy a conversation with Mum. That’s what I want from today.