It was my German Grandmother who taught me how to pray – at that time we were living in a small city in Southern Germany, countryside.
She would come to my bedside and then we would both fold our hands, get quiet, have our little prayer.
She would encourage me to have my own, silent prayer. Artist as she was, she had a rather creative, freestyle way of explaining – I clearly remember her saying “Everything is ok,you can tell God whatsoever it is”.
I loved to walk on the fields, and the blue of the cornflowers starteled me. I was told to leave them, they wouldn`t stay until home if I plucked them.
The blue of the flower was incredibly touching, time and place faded away, nothing but this amazing blue. Everything was still, peacefull.
The first Zen temple I remember, six o`clock in the morning, Ryoanji in Kyoto, famous for its fabulous stone garden. I was 11 or 12, together with a schoolmate.
We entered the temple area, and took a walk around – greens, birds, lake.
First step inside and time would stand still, nothing but this clear air, the sounds of green and peacefullness.
Later we sat at the veranda of the old wooden temple and looked at the stonegarden. We never needed to talk, we were just a part of everything.
The impression of peace and beauty stayed forever in my mind.
During my university time in Cologne I had the opportunity to see a performance of Kazuo Ono (one of the fathers of Butoh dance), at that time 82 years of age.
He danced his Solo “ L`Argentina”. The very slow, authentic movements had a strong impact on everybody. I was, for the first time, moved to tears by a dancer.
Later, when we met him in a café, he would come to me with the words “Isn`t it amazing how the Love of Jesus can be felt everywhere”. In the midst of the noisy café everything and everybody around him seemed to slow down, relax. I will never forget the waiter, young, busy, wanting to take the orders. Ono looked at him, slowly, friendly. As if suddenly he had remembered all the good things in his life the young man dropped his busy attitude in the second and had such a beautyfull glow in his face and body. Time stood still.
In our meditation group it is the wish for personal integrity in everyday life AND the wish to be connected to something higher, devine, that I feel most.
Often, words cannot express this need easily.
Personally for me, in my life and work I find nothing more touching than this utterly humane wish.