Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I’m back in Japan, living in a traditional-tatami matted apartment, and it’s Sunday. The sound of chanting reaches me, as I rearrange my living space, yet again.

I’m trying to find the most logical order for things in my new apartment. I have two rooms this year, and one has a lovely sliding door to a fenced patio. It’s small enough that I can reach to hang my clothes from my living room. It’s not large enough for a table and chair, but that’s okay.

The light streams into this room in the morning, even though my curtains are shut. That wasn’t a problem the first morning because a cloud cover dimmed the sunrise. This morning, however, the sun rose without a cloud in the sky, and I realized that having my bed in this room would be a problem.

Why, you might ask, would a glorious sunrise be a problem? When it wakes me at 5:30 am, one whole hour before I wanted to even begin the thinking process, it’s a problem!

I had a cup of coffee and read a couple chapters on my Kindle, but soon the urge to rearrange over took me, and as I ate my breakfast, I began the process of moving my desk and chair, swapping out books for makeup, moving office supplies to one closet and clothes to another. My book bags and boots on the floor of a closet, and my bedding into another. Sounds pretty spacious, right? Wrong!

As I worked, I heard a familiar sound, one I heard last year when we visited temples in Tokyo or on Mt. Takao, the sound of a deep voice chanting. The authenticity seemed to ring like a bell, as I moved table and chair, rug and futon. All I lacked was incense to complete the mood.

I have the windows open. They let in a cool breeze. It also allows the serenity of the chanting to enter my space and fill my head with a calm that all Sundays should bring.

If I could sit in the lotus position, I would. I’d meditate on world peace, and let the chanting carry my mind to places with fresh air and the sound of running water. As it is, I sit in my chair and write. Another form of meditation, and a sense of calm is my reward.

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