This life of practice is challenging. The almost three weeks we spent away from home and garden had serious consequences. As you can see the lettuce has “shot” – I’ve never seen lettuce flowers; they’re very cute. The tomatoes succumbed to the heavy rains and intense heat; we’ll be lucky to get a dozen or so from the boxes. We got one meal of green beans and yellow squash. The bean plants and two baseball bat-sized squash are destined for the compost pile.
The other types of squash however are running rampant.
I love an orderly life – I love an orderly garden which to me is external proof of an equally orderly internal environment. Apparently, my desires are not on the agenda this go around. Or perhaps, it’s a clear message that my internal life needs a Master Gardener.
Practice sends me the same message. I tend to get very organized and obsessive about making it pretty. And then, some part of life takes me away and what was once pretty becomes wild and unruly. Or it becomes a psychological bully that insists everyone’s way has to give way to my Way. That’s the time when two really important practices come into play – both in gardening and the guck stuff.
Let go. Order is subtle. Things tend to follow a path that isn’t immediately evident.
Compost. Everything gets 10, 000 chances.
When I first starting sitting, order had to be forced out of chaos – in the room, in the mind, in the body. I haven’t quite let go of my need for order. I’m just not as ruthless about it, I hope. At the same time, the discipline grows out of skilfully illuminating each so that the other comes into relief.
I mentioned to Carole at ZenDotStudio that I’ve never been successful at composting. That’s true in a gardening way; it’s also true in a practice way. Managing impatience for change and a desire for permanence is tricky. And when they sit on that cushion with me, it gets crowded and precarious. So I’m learning how to prune away what isn’t necessary in this moment, what has yielded its fruit, what has shot to flower. These go in a pile for the worms and bacteria to transform. They are more powerful and skillful at that than I.
Thank you for practising,