We just finished our last retreat in Athens until the spring, at Synthesis Center. It was a really very good chance to settle back into “it” despite social distancing concerns and the looming threat of re-entering some kind of lockdown was again hanging over the period of the retreat. (My last retreat here in March, I was reminded, was also followed immediately by the first intensive lockdown — leading Greeks to need SMS confirmation permissions even to leave their houses for errands.) So people are fearful. The anxiety is palpable. And we are in a very stranger-than-fiction season, with this whole US election apocalypse and near-Europe flashpoints, with Islamist attacks adding heightened nervousness.
Germany is in lockdown, too. Our team there told me yesterday, “Sunim, we really don’t need you here in the Zen Center for the foreseeable future. There can’t be any public practice. Even having the lights on in the Dharma Room during Morning Practice darkness can attract attention and inspection if we are keeping proper non-gathering.“ That is the mood there.
In Athens, from Tuesday morning, all restaurants and bars and cafés and, touching us, yoga studios and health clubs, were all shut down. There is further tightening this coming Monday morning: we will all be required to get SMS permission to do anything outside the house.
The video above was filmed during the last sittings before we ended the retreat before lockdown. Lots of people are increasingly worried and wondering how they will conduct their lives. It was hard to pay bills here even before this disaster struck. And now there is further crunching. The anxious-I is trembling. These words appeared, for whatever they might be worth.