Coronavirus times


March 24, 2020

This a rough time, especially for those of us living close to the edge economically. A few weeks of lost income is a serious matter. I hope all of us in this situation are okay and will receive the support they need.

For those of us who can sustain an economic turndown for a while, it still isn't easy to be "sheltered in place,” as we are here in the San Francisco Bay Area. There is some fear and anxiety, some inconvenience, some loneliness perhaps, worry about what is to come.

On the other hand, we have time to slow down and reflect, maybe to read and communicate with friends. This is what my wife Kathie and I have been doing; I hope you are doing this too. More time for sitting.

Meantime, the earth is probably happy that we have slowed down so drastically. Greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution are way down. Life is slowing down, for the first time in decades. Maybe this is a moment when the ongoing juggernaut of our worldwide economic system will be revised in good ways. Maybe this little virus, which is neither alive nor not alive, and does only what it must do, will somehow help to bring about this positive outcome. We can hope.

Meantime, the bad economic effects of all this going forward are completely unknown. People do need to work and earn income. It seems likely many people will suffer terrible consequences, beyond those who will get sick and die from this illness. No one knows what the future will bring. But living with uncertainty is what we have always done, and Dharma practice helps us to cope, not get carried away with our thoughts and emotions.

Around the country and the world, Dharma groups are doing what they can to offer support. Zen schedules that were formerly available only to locals for in-person sittings and events are now widely available online. We encourage all of you to take part in any of this you can.

Here at Everyday Zen our seminar talks are, as always, available as audio files on the website within a day or two of the Wednesday evening Dharma Seminar. We hope that soon the seminar will be available as a “live” talk and discussion you can access online through Zoom.

Last Monday we began an “Everyday Caring Covid-19 Support Group” support meeting, led by our senior teachers James Flaherty, Chris Fortin, Jaune Evans, and Andrea Jacoby. It meets Mondays 4-5:30 PM. Follow the link to join.

You are also welcome to join us for sittings via Zoom with our teachers Mary Ann Sacksteder, Chris Fortin, and Jaune Evans with their Everyday Zen affiliate sanghas. For the schedule and links, visit the Online Sittings & Classes page.

 Our March and April all-day sittings that had been scheduled to take place at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin are cancelled in-person, but we plan to offer the April 25 sit as a Zoom event. Stay tuned to this site and our News & Events mailing list for details about that. Be sure you’re signed up for the All-Day Sittings list.

This is a time to stay more closely in touch with friends and sangha members online. Setting up regular visits with Dharma friends to check in and discuss practice would be a great thing to do now.

And please email us if there is anything we can do to help, or if you have questions or suggestions. Everyday Zen is quite small, with an all-volunteer “staff,” many of whom have regular jobs and families, so we are limited in what we can do, but we will do what we can. Stay in touch!

Yours, Norman