Why do you practice at Centre of Gravity? July 22, 2012

Text for video made for Centre of Gravity membership drive, Summer 2012. Check out: www.centreofgravity.org)

You know a lot of bands have these flashy lead guitarists, maybe a saxophone and winds, a keyboard player, but keeping it all together – the glue, the timekeeper – is the drummer. Why do I go to the Centre of Gravity? Because I want to hear the drummer, because I want to be the drummer in the band. A different drummer perhaps, than the one that’s steadily pounding out the beat of “I want more.” I want more ice cream. And then one day you run out of ice cream, or ice cream doesn’t taste like ice cream anymore, and you need something else. And you don’t need a new play list, you need a new operating system, a whole new kind of timekeeper, and then the door, one of the 84,000 doors is right there, in front of you, looking like the face of your best friend, or a video on Youtube, and then you find yourself deep in practice, doing the work, the work of the present moment.

Many people come to Gravity each week, and everyone who comes is the drummer in the band. And sometimes we play such clumsy music together, and that’s ok. That’s how we are in that moment, in that place. We hold a place for that. We hold each other. And sometimes we make the most beautiful music together, and we hold a place for that too. We don’t have to stand up on the park benches and shout out our music is so great. Or: our music is so awful. We don’t have to decide. We’re not trying to become something. We’re not going anywhere. It’s all practice. We’re just trying to be here, in this moment, with each other.

Recently we’ve started a membership drive at Gravity. Oh god it’s another pitch for money. Who’s got their hand out today? In the future of capitalism we won’t say, “Hi how are you?” We’ll just hold out our hands when we meet each other and ask: “How much?” But having to think about money keeps all of the timekeepers from being too idealistic, and it’s a way for us to practice our generosity. There’s a lot of people who can’t make it to the room on Tuesday nights or to the courses and intensives, they follow along with the audio podcasts or the videos or the notes, and becoming a member allows that to happen. It’s another way to support each other. It’s a way to help the people who can’t afford to help themselves. Besides, without being a member we can’t afford to show you the secret handshake, the enlightenment decoder ring, the I’m already in nirvana t-shirt. Some secrets are more expensive than others. And the most expensive secret of all is the one that keeps us from practice, that keeps us, that keeps me, in the descriptions of my life, safe and abstract and far away. Instead I want to come to a place where I can fail with joy, and I can not fail with joy, and it’s the same, it’s the same joy. Won’t you, won’t I, won’t we, won’t you join us?