Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve in India

Today is Christmas Eve. For those of you who celebrate Christmas, which was your most memorable one? One of mine was at a Zen meditation retreat in 1973 at the Mt. Baldy Zen Center in the San Gabriel Mountains in southern California (I can see them from here in Palm Springs!) Another was in Kerala, the southern state of India ,in 1978. Here is my journal entry from that trip. I was 27 years old when I wrote it.


12/24— Varkala a pleasant village leading to the Arabian Sea. Checked into the Guest House and walked down to a small, quite beautiful beach. Stood a long time gazing out into the shimmering waters, just as I used to gaze out over the lights of L.A. in the Zen meditation retreats at Mt. Baldy, imagining everyone cozy inside their houses, filled with the warmth and love I hoped Christmas would awaken in them, and silently blessing them all. Here the sky overcast, a pregnant feel in the air of impending rain, a cool breeze caressing the skin. Somewhere halfway across the world, children are awakening to the last day of breathless excitement. Some are stoking wood-burning stoves, others putting on air-conditioning. The New York Times prints the stories of the needy, television bursting with Christmas specials, the streets bustling with last-minute shopping, the radios piping in the classic carols. Here a woman in a purple sari walks slowly into the palm trees and we walk back to the Guest House for a meal of chapati and vegetable curry, with boiled banana and the ever-present tea. 

May I ride with Santa Claus , dropping blessings down the chimney with him to each and every household so that on Christmas morning all sentient beings wake up to themselves.


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