Saturday, June 18, 2011

Self and Not-so-other

A new friend took me out her back door last evening to show me her backyard garden in town. Her lot is surprisingly deep, going back 1/3 acre to a hill. She told me the story about buying her house in a snowstorm, moving in on April Fool's day, and slowly discovering what a "park" she has behind her house.

She planted her first-ever vegetable garden. A while later she left for a couple of weeks. Returning home, she walked out to her garden and was astounded by the growth that had taken place in her absence. She said she practically leapt backwards out of her garden because she saw Life.

In that moment, that split second when she felt Life all around her, she saw that the plants are not different than her. Or, to say it another way, she is the same as the plants.

This sort of deep seeing, this "insight" can happen when the mind is content and calm. Deep seeing such as this requires a momentary stillness of mind.

We may not have directly experienced the sudden awakening of "I am that." ("And that. And that. And that too.") Most of us take a more gradual path, perhaps relying on "back-door" insights that arise from our contemplations, such as The Meditative Gardener is full of.

We already have an intuitive sense that self and other are not different. This is why the Golden Rule makes so much sense:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Or as the Buddha said:
As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I.
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Our own desire to be treated well by others is why we plant seeds of kindness toward others--in our backyard gardens and in our life.

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