Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Forcing Hyacinths

I'm forcing hyacinths. The naked bulbs sit in their vases, suspended above water. They will sit there in the dark cool basement for 3 months or so before the flowers begin to sprout and unfurl.

In our lives, we sometimes force ourselves to be nice because we think that being nice is the same as being good.

But goodness is a skill that we can develop. The instructions are in the beginning lines of the Metta Sutta.

This is what is to be done
by one who is skilled in goodness,
and who seeks the path of peace.

Let them be able & upright,
straight-forward & gentle in speech,
humble & not conceited,

contented & easily satisfied,
unburdened by duties & frugal in their ways,
peaceful & calm & wise & skillful,

not proud & demanding in nature.

Let them not do the slightest thing
that the wise would later reprove.

Consider pondering one of these pairs of skills at the end of your meditation. A "nice" person might be gentle in speech, but not "straight-forward." How in the world can we do both? How can we say "No" (or even "No!") with an open heart?

Allow these phrases to grow in the dark of your sub-conscious. Some day you will be surprised by their blooming!

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