Thoughts from the garden on a beautiful morning

This early morning saw beautiful sunshine and finally the cherry tree at the end of the garden burst into flower. A picture of growth and life. And yet this last week I have gotten some news that reminded me that we are all subject to illness and change. There are times that we cannot predict or even understand all that happens to us or to those who are dear to us. And my work brings me into almost continual contact with the struggles and inner yearnings of people and also the deep-rooted patterns and habits that keep them locked in fear and anxiety. When things go well,  as they have been for some time now, or when I am blessed to sit early in the garden on a day such as this,  I easily fall into the belief that this will remain the case for ever. However, the news of this week and events over the last few weeks –  with the disaster  in Japan and the outbreak of war in Libya and the struggles of people in Syria and the Ivory Coast –  remind me that our life here is unsatisfactory in a fundamental way. We can never be certain of the permanence of any external thing to which we look for our feelings of wellbeing. So this throws me back inside myself and to the ongoing cultivation of a quality of awareness that can work with everything that happens, good and bad. Moments like this help me to focus on the question of how I are living this life which is constantly subject to change.  It reminds me to work with life as it is and not just with the parts that are as I like.   What are the priorities I choose and which I want to endure? Can I practice mindfulness in all my choices?  Where am I focusing my energy? In the small corner of the world where I am,  can I stay in contact with people around that which is important and let go of all that  contributes to the suffering of the world?

You are like a candle. Imagine you are sending light out all around you. All your words, thoughts and actions are going in many directions. If you say something kind, your kind words go in many directions, and you yourself go with them. We are …transforming and continuing in a different form at every moment.

Thich Nhat Hahn

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