A week later and I’m still left with some very distinct impressions from our afternoon on the High Line Park, Day One of Urban Sesshin.
Everything depends on perspective, Shuso said, a concept that achieved particular resonance on the High Line Park. There we were, suspended in mid-air, with, on one side, a view of the Hudson River, on the other, the bowels of the Meat Market below, with its shiny new boutiques and upscale restaurants. The colorful rooftops and trendy hotels have replaced the abattoirs and before that, the granaries of another era.
As we walked about, at this elevated height, I felt free of the person I normally take myself to be. Stripped of function, released from role, I felt deliciously open and fluid, as if invited to step outside the particular play I was in, and for a moment, given a panoramic view of all the plays in progress, one superimposed upon another, or overlapping – all the plays that make up what we call the history of a given time.
What is more opening than having a couple of hours in which to do nothing but breathe in the sights and sounds of a city, witness the confluence of elements that make it so vibrant, take stock of this particular moment. In Shuso parlance, to peel back the skin and reveal the flocking cluster of cells beneath.
Without my typical purposeful, task-oriented self along for the ride, simply sensing the sun on my skin, the cool of the shade, hearing the sounds of the city below, seeing the mulch-covered plants peeking out ready to bloom, I felt awash in the wonder of what it is to be a human being. For a moment, the habit of anxiety dropping away.
I’d love to hear about others’ experiences of Urban Sesshin.