I was reminded of these texts – one Christian, one zen – driving to work on Monday and seeing the blossoms and buds return to the trees. Both speak of profound inner experiences – one when just 18, the other after 30 years of searching – just on seeing the blossoms bloom, the leaves fall, the branches grow, and the new leaves appearing. Miracles in everyday life which we rush past each day.
In the winter I saw a tree stripped of its leaves and I knew that within a little time the leaves would be renewed, and that afterwards the flowers and the fruit would appear. From this I received a profound view of the care of God which has never since left my soul. The view I grasped that day freed me completely and kindled in me such a love for God that I cannot say that it has increased during the more than forty years since that time.
Brother Lawrence, 1693, The Practice of the Presence of God.
For thirty years, I have been looking for the sword,
How many times have the leaves fallen and the branches grown anew?
But then once I saw the peach blossoms,
and from then up to now, I have never had any more doubts.
Lingyun Zhiqin, dates unknown, Searching for Thirty Years