Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Surprise Lily

Image result for lycoris
Beautiful pink lily-like flowers are blooming in the garden. Lycoris squamigera, also known as Naked Ladies.

The strappy leaves were green in May, then slowly faded away. Two months later, a single stem of flowers rises up 3 feet with delicate pale pink blossoms, like a summer amaryllis.

Our meditation practice can look like this. We meditate and study, do our work. Only later does our practice come into full flower, surprising even us with an internal calm despite windy conditions in our lives.

Meditate now as if your life depended on it.
It does.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Rain Ruin

Rain every day. It feels like we live in the tropics--warm and wet. The sun shines, then we have a downpour. Repeat two or three times a day.

The daily rain ruins flowers fast. The geraniums on my front step bloom, then turn brown the next day. A day without rain and suddenly the petunias look very pink and perky. Then it rains, and they droop again.

When the rain of our life falls on us, we may cry, we may spend a lot of time crying, yet with the support of the Dharma, with the support of meditation, we find an inner strength. We might not bloom exactly, but we can thrive anyway.

As Shinzen Young says, meditation is not a quick and easy fix. But it's a deep fix.

Water your roots deeply with daily meditation.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Galloping Gardens

Image result for horse in flower gardenThe garden is galloping through the summer. No way can i rein it in--pull all the weeds i want to, transplant flowers, rearrange the design here and there. Nor can i harvest everything that's in the vegetable garden.

Company, day trips, swimming. Ahhh. Summer. It's all so delicious. And the garden comes in third, or sometimes last, place.

The mind is way ahead of the body. The mind wants this, wants that, wants a beautiful garden. The mind plans to do this or that.

The body says Relax. It's summer. Let's go to the lake and meditate beside still water.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Funeral Flowers

So many of my gladiolas this summer don't open. They are spotted, brown, and hole-y. They are old and withered looking as soon as they are born.

Apparently, the cause is a small (1/16 inch) insect--the Gladiolus thrips. The remedy is cold storage over the winter.

I wanted beautiful gladiolas, but what i got was dead flowers, not even suitable for their own funeral.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Cosmos Heaven

I went to get my hair cut at Linda's, and was met at the front step by cosmos heaven. I love cosmos, though i don't have quite enough sun for them. They sort of lie down on the job in my garden. Yes, i could stake them up. Also, cosmos are not a good cut flower; they are really more showy in the flowerbed.

Do you hear the flow of pleasant / unpleasant? My mood changing each second with each thought.

I love cosmos. Pleasant.
I don't have enough sun. Unpleasant.
They straggle and flop. Unpleasant.
I could stake them up. Unpleasant.
Not a good cut flower. Unpleasant.
Showy in a sunny flower bed. Pleasant.
Linda's garden is beautiful. Pleasant.

Uh, uh, uh. Now let's leave this mental conversation right here. We don't want to add in the unpleasant thought / mood of envy and jealousy, wishing we had what Linda has. We don't want to water those weedy thoughts.

Let the mind be with happiness for Linda and her garden.  We want to train our mind in these kinds of beautiful and heavenly thoughts.

Maybe i'll just drop by and see her little flowerbed the next time i'm in town.

Cosmos, a painting by Mildred Wilfong (my mother)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Bee Sleeping on Sunflower

Image result for bee on sunflower
When i cut sunflowers this morning, i saw that bees had slept on the sunflowers overnight. I suppose that near dark, the bees are just having a nightcap, and then find themselves comatose on the floor of the sunflower head. I find them lethargic the next morning and shake them awake.

This is what happens when we indulge our cravings, our addictions. We lose clarity.

Clarity is one of the qualities of mindfulness. Shinzen Young defines mindfulness as concentration, clarity, and equanimity.

When we lose clarity, we lose another moment of our one wild and precious life.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Fennel Seeds

Image result for fennel
My neighbor has 7-foot tall fennel plants. When she first said "fennel," i thought she was talking Florence fennel, the bulb of which can be eaten like a vegetable--roasted or in salad. But no, she was talking about an ordinary fennel plant, a perennial (Foeniculum vulgare).

"Well, you could use the seeds," i said.

We looked at each other. She's a busy woman. I'm a busy woman. As much as we would love to pretend that we are farmers or bakers, neither one of us has that kind of time.

"I'm going to dig it out," she said.

One line of the Loving-Kindness sutta says,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.

Just imagine being "unburdened" by the duties of the garden and subsisting on very little.

My neighbor is unburdening herself of several giant fennel plants.