Ango and Jukai are here again and excitement is felt all over the sangha.
I see friends getting ready, asking questions and getting nervous about it all, especially for the ones undertaking Ango for the first time.
Will I do it right? Will I be able to sew a rakusu in time? Will I have the willpower to commit to what I have just wrote? Will I be able to sit for more minutes? Dana? What's that? (In my case: Will my poor English be good enough to understand everything?)
Tons of questions and doubts come to mind, but we all are in for the ride, despite we might not be sure what's waiting. We feel we are doing the right thing for our practice, for the community and for the universe.
So I decided to join my first Ango. I wasn't sure what was in store for me, but it felt right. It was overwhelming because there were a lot of addendums to my life and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it till the end. More sitting, more reading, daily liturgy, donating to charity. In general it meant paying more attention to my practice.
Plus, I had to give up two things I held as sacred. To me it was bread (wheat based stuff in general like cookies, cakes, crackers, tortillas, pasta etc.) and video games.
Video games were never an issue, so it was not a problem. I went cold turkey.
But bread... man, that was hard! I was so hooked on wheat that the first week was hell. How was I going to make it through life without doughnuts?
But since I had committed to quit, I held onto that. It was like a sacred promise to my teachers, to the sangha and to me.
The second week was still a little hard, but by the third week I had completely changed my diet. No bread at all. I changed to healthy food.
By the end of the three months I learned that I didn't need wheat products at all. Not only that, but I had got involved in my nutrition and learned quite a bit about what was good for me.
And I lost weight. But that's not the point of this post, no.
The important thing is that all the actions I made during Ango, like more time sitting, healthy eating, metta and meal chanting, paying attention to my thoughts and emotions, making donations a part of my daily life... everything stayed.
Ango became everyday life.
So don't be nervous. Take it one day at a time, dropping resistance and judgements. Stand strong to your commitments only for today.
But most of all, enjoy.