Concerned about COVID,
I vow with all beings
to breathe in equanimity
and breathe out generous care.

I have the wonderful and rare opportunity to attend an upcoming sesshin in person next week. However, it involves flying and COVID-19 exposure. While I’m aware of the rapidly declining numbers, I’m also cognizant of desensitizing to what these lower numbers still mean — death, despair, suffering.

Caught in a tangle of decisions, I’ve continued to feel some fear, particularly since I’m going from a part of the U.S. where the infection rate is relatively high compared to that of my destination.

Then this morning I remembered the possibility of everyday vows. Grounding in them, what next came to mind was a hymn about breath by Sarah Dan Jones.

I’ve adapted her kind, simple words to fit the rhythm of Aitken Roshi’s Zen Vows for Everyday Life — substituting two of the four brahmaviharas (upekkha and karuna) for “peace” and “love.”

May we all find ways to care for each other in these difficult times.