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Lions Roar : May 2018
Afterward, I wash dishes and clean the counters—my earbuds in to block out the noise of my kids hyped up on des- sert. I used to listen to Meat Is Murder, Morrissey’s voice looping through my head while the sponge wiped away pasta sauce. Now recordings of Sylvia Boor- stein and Tara Brach guide me at the sink, their dharma talks emphasizing the value of responding instead of reacting. One day I will just breathe—without their electronic words—holding each plate, being there each second, but I’m not there yet. Wednesday is my sangha night, the evening I really get to pretend to be a monk. I arrive at the church where we rent space, take my shoes off, and sometimes help move the furniture. Our sangha is small, never more than eight people. We sit in a circle. There is meditation, which is an hour of sit- ting and walking, followed by reading Thich Nhat Hahn’s teachings together. Each person reads two pages slowly, giving voice to the dharma. One week we read the five mindfulness trainings, another evening, we read about Thay’s time as a novice monk. The last thirty minutes of the night we practice lis- tening deeply as members share their thoughts on the reading or speak about their practice. We then bow to the teachings, to the sangha, to each other, and to the world. At nine p.m., I walk the two blocks back home, enter quietly, and say good- night to my children. Most nights I medi- tate for ten minutes in my son’s room, keeping him company while he settles into slumber. Later, if my wife is watch- ing television in the bedroom, I read Buddhist-related memoirs: The Snow Leopard, Cave in the Snow, Long Quiet Highway. I imagine trekking through Tibet, meditating in a tent, in a cave, in a Minnesota Zen Center. I wait until sleep finds me. By 10:30 p.m., my day is usually complete—a day in the life of a modern dad monk. ♦ LION’S ROAR | MAY 2018 25 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE