A friend of mine described being in a room full of puppies as exposure to treatment-resistant joy. I laughed initially from the mere image of bouncing balls of fur and manic tails. Then, the cynic in me muttered, Hah! Just wait until they graduate from puppy school to doggie boot camp. Having trained a number puppies, we’ve struggled with teaching them how to behave yet not lose that wholehearted abandon of puppyhood.
It’s so easy to get trained out of our natural incline to joy. Practice can get that way; it can feel like enlightenment boot camp some days. And it was evident this weekend. A holiday weekend for us, it marks the beginning of some real dig deep gardening. Despite the early arrival of Spring, it’s been raining so much that the grass is a foot high and our lawn mower died after one brave circuit of the homestead. The flower beds are choking with grass and dandelions. The irony of St. John’s Wort, used to treat depression yet causing grief, didn’t escape me; it has completely invaded the bee balm and lifted the stone walkway. Gardening meditation was not shaping up to be pastoral or bucolic.
Yet practice also informs me that these initial thoughts of and sensations that underlie a belief of futility are unreliable predictors. No matter how I start out each Spring, the work gets done, the space is created for each plant and every blossom. So digging in – literally in some cases – is all there is to do. The rest follows. Just like sitting zazen.
And when I got discouraged, there were these luscious beauties:
I also caught a video on Facebook posted by Eshu Martin of the Victoria Zen Center. Treatment-resistant joy is not only for kids!
Kensho from Cadbury.