Suzuki Roshi used to say that what was needed most in the monastery were people who were good at cleaning out the corners. The most perverting ideas are the ones that lie for years and years in the dark corners of our mind. Like spiders, they creep out while we are sleeping and spin their webs of illusion. Only when the mind is clean, in order, and uncluttered can the present moment be fully realized. If we hang onto past memories, trophies of our good-old-days, in time our mind and our home will be a museum instead of a place to encounter the present reality. The relationship between house cleaning, garden cleaning, and mental caretaking is not just symbolic. It is very direct
Marian Mountain, 1923 – 2013, artist and student of Suzuki Roshi, The Zen Environment
photo jim henderson
Another quote on accepting that there are reasons we cannot see and that we do not always have to be in control.
Prompted by the swallows returning yesterday :
Break open the cherry tree:
But where are the blossoms?
Wait for spring time and see how they bloom!
Ikkyu, Zen Buddhist monk and poet, 1394 – 1481
photo andrew bossi
This is the primary…affirmation within all of Scripture…
To believe that we and our world are good, very good;
to take delight in our lives and in each other;
to live lives that radiate joy rather than depression, boredom, and resentment;
well … that sounds simple and easy, but remains a rare thing that’s seldom accomplished.
The most important challenge that all of us face in life is to….bless rather than to curse!
Ron Rolheiser, Blessing and Cursing Life
If you really aren’t trying to get anywhere else in this moment, patience takes care of itself. It is a remembering that things unfold in their own time. The seasons cannot be hurried. Spring comes, the grass grows by itself. Being in a hurry usually doesn’t help and it can create a great deal of suffering. Patience is an ever-present alternative to the mind’s endemic restlessness and impatience. Scratch the surface of impatience and you will find lying beneath it, subtly or not so subtly is anger. It’s the strong energy of not wanting things to be the way they are and blaming someone (often yourself) or something for it.
Jon Kabat Zinn, Wherever you go, There you Are
Most of us are very good at bringing suffering upon ourselves, by taking something that is happening and fixating on it, creating a worry and letting it take root inside us. We are less good at simply letting things be, without wanting to fix the world according to our preferences:
and the grass grows,
Matsuo Bashō, 1644 – 1694
At Ryoan-ji in Kyoto there is a famous rock garden;
Wherever in it a person stands, one of the fifteen rocks cannot be seen.
The garden reminds that always something unknowable is present, just beyond what can be perceived or comprehended – and that something is as much part of the real as any other stone amid the raked gravel.