The Velocity of Gratitude

8 The Velocity of Gratitude.jpg

Bergen Church by Conor MacNeill of The Fella Photography (thefella.com)

 

Sunday morning class is my kind of special class of the week to teach.
I have had a Sunday morning class to teach ever since San Francisco and it is always my favorite class to teach each week.

When I was a kid, I used to go to church every Sunday morning with my family. I feel that for my family it was mostly an outer ritual to kind of show up and “punch the clock.” IN at 10:00am, OUT at 11:30am. Mission accomplished.

My favorite part of those Sunday morning pilgrimages were the post-church activities that often took place. Sometimes we would go out to breakfast. Most every time though we would go to the supermarket for the weekly shopping. During this time I was allowed to wander freely, which usually meant I would go to the paperback rack near the far side of the market. I would pick a book and stand there and read until my Mom came to get me. If I found a book that interested me, I would read it every week we went until I finished it. Some days I would also have time to head over to the drugstore next door to read comic books, which was a supreme delight for me then.

I feel my fondness for teaching Sunday mornings has a connection to those going-to-church-breakfast-supermarket-drugstore-reading days.

I don`t think I am the only one with this kind of connection. I feel sure many kids my age then were having a similar Sunday of church and family. As for me, by repeating that pattern every weekend for years there was a certain rasa created in my consciousness. Rasa is Sanskrit for “essence, flavor, taste”, and often refers to any strong mental or emotional state in which one becomes absorbed in and even imprinted by. In my consciousness there is this imprint of those Sundays as a time of freedom and joy, of immersing myself in other worlds and stories full of people in various extraordinary circumstances. It is the last two words of this statement that indicate to me why those Sundays still linger inside me 35 years later.

At that young age, for me extraordinary was anything out of the ordinary, even if that thing were still a “normal” part of everyone`s day to day existence. Like eating breakfast at a restaurant, or reading books in front of a bookcase or comic book stand.

It is interesting for me to note that my Sunday morning classes were and are still the class in which I often do take time to tell a story. It may be a story about my life, or a myth, or simply a use of metaphors to illustrate how our practice can connect us to a greater part of ourselves than what we usually perceive, something extraordinary in us.

When I was in SF, several of my regular Sunday morning students remarked that for them my class was their version of going to church every Sunday. I only taught those classes for three or four years, but I would be delighted if any of those students who gave of their precious time to attend each week had experienced an inspirational rasa that still yet lingers in their consciousness in a way that allows them to connect to their present Sunday morning with great zeal and enthusiasm.

On this Mother`s Day I offer a deep bow and showers of gratitude to my Mom, the architect of those Sunday mornings, for giving me the chance to experience the extraordinary. That experience of extraordinary has been one of the main forces that has impelled and continues to impel me to actively seek out the extraordinary and welcome it in every moment of my life.

 

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