All this falling

As I walk through the woods along the lake, I’m quickened by nature’s palette of subtle and vivid colors. At the same time — as the leaves drop and the dark skeletons of the trees begin to emerge — I’m sobered by the fact that all green, growing, and glorious things must pass away.

And yet, as the years go by, the more I find that these two feelings dance with each other. The fact that all things must die makes me ever more grateful for the beauties of nature and human nature.

If we let that gratitude animate us to care for the natural and human communities, then what falls to the ground around us and among us will seed the flowering of new life.

As Rilke says in this lovely and well-known poem, “…there is Someone, whose hands, infinitely calm, hold up all this falling.”

We are that Someone’s hands. Let’s hold all this falling in ways that will help the earth and its creatures rise…

Parker J. Palmer

Resting

Letting ourselves sink. Coming to rest. Resting….Images from nature can be useful in meditation practice.

Suppose someone is holding a pebble and throws it in the air and the pebble begins to fall down into a river. After the pebble touches the surface of the water, it allows itself to sink slowly into the river. It will reach the bed of the river without any effort. Once the pebble is at the bottom of the river, it continues to rest. It allows the water to pass by.

I think the pebble reaches the bed of the river by the shortest path because it allows itself to fall without making any effort. During our sitting meditation we can allow ourselves to rest like a pebble.

Resting is a very important practice; we have to learn the art of resting. You should allow your body and your mind to rest. The problem is that not many of us know how to allow our body and mind to rest. We are always struggling; struggling has become a kind of habit. We cannot resist being active, struggling all the time. It is very important to realize that we have the habit energy of struggling.

Our mind as well as our body needs to rest.Only if we know how to allow them to rest can our body and our soul heal themselves.

Thich Nhat Hahn, Rest in the River

Sunday Quote: An Autumn chant

Gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā

[“Gone, Gone, Gone beyond, Completely gone to the Other Shore. Oh what an Awakening”]

The final lines of the Heart Sutra considered by some Buddhists the perfection of all wisdom –  Pragya Paramita- finding a pace of rest, a stability that is beyond all coming or going.

My strength is trust

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life.  The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and smallest scar on my bark. I was born to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers.  I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me.  I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else.  I trust that God is in me.  I trust that my labour is holy. Out of this trust I live

Hermann Hesse, Trees: Reflections and Poems

Pay attention

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.

Mary Oliver, The Summer Day [extract]