I was reminded by a friend last night that it had been quite some time since I have updated our blog. How time slips away. I really enjoy writing here but I do continue to encourage anyone who would like to contribute, to please do so.
I have been working a lot in my garden recently. I decided last year to name my garden “Prajna” and my daughter’s boyfriend painted a beautiful sign to hang in the middle of the garden. Why prajna? I think of Prajna as the wisdom to know what to accept and what to reject and I struggle with that concept in a very mundane way this time of year in the garden. As seedlings come up it is often difficult to know what is a seedling and what is a weed. . . . get it? But I digress. I have always been intrigued by the hierarchy of the universe as explained by Chogyam Trungpa in “Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior”. He describes the importance of respecting the natural hierarchy as a way of connecting with drala, or the magic of the world around us. It is described in terms of lha, nyen and lu. Lha is the head, nyen is the shoulders and lu is the feet and this can be applied to almost anything. With regard to the seasons, spring is nyen, “. . . a coming down from heaven and beginning to contact the earth.”
The garden is a wonderfully concrete reminder of impermanence. All of my hard work from previous gardens is now compost. The fruit from previous gardens has long since been ingested and excreted. I start the garden with full knowledge that in a few short months I’ll be pulling it all up for next years compost pile and yet I still experience great joy in the process. This reminds me that great joy does exist within the realization of impermanence. All things are impermanent and we know this on an intellectual level. Nonetheless we enter most aspects of our life without acknowledging this fundamental fact. We buy a car or a computer, or whatever; with no gut realization that, just like the garden, it is only a matter of time before these things are part of a trash heap. It may seem that this would detract from the enjoyment of life but quite the opposite. As the guru teaches and the garden demonstrates, respecting this natural hierarchy, this natural progression, thrusts us into the moment. THIS moment, just as it is because this is the only moment. In this moment my mind does not replay a past over which I have no control and does not construct a fantasy future. It’s just now and now cannot be any other way. In this now we behave in ways that are most likely to yield beneficial future moments. This is the teaching of karma. Just like in the garden where I use a certain seed and plant the seedlings in a certain light etc. The best planting practice does not always yield a perfect harvest as so many other causes and conditions affect what I have done. Bad weather, diseases and all, but there is clearly NO chance of a harvest if I don’t plant the seed and do what I can. It’s the same with the rest of our lives. The best actions (seemingly good karmic activities) don’t always yield good outcomes because there are always countless other causes and conditions. But there is clearly NO chance for a good outcome if we don’t plant the right seed. So I acknowledge this nyen time of year. I give my full attention to my seedlings not because I hope for a particular harvest later, later is not here. I give full attention to the seedlings because that is what is needed right now, in this moment. My garden can be my teacher and it teaches me that. . . . . everything can be my teacher.