Saturday, March 31, 2012

Planting Hyacinth Bulbs

Remember those hyacinths that i started forcing on November 15 and that began blooming on January 17? The bulbs are still sitting in their vases of water, looking extremely aged and pretty ugly.

It's the time to plant them in a flowerbed. Last year's hyacinths are blooming now, and i am happy to see them. Hyacinths seem to devolve over 3 or 4 years, with fewer flowers on their flower stalk every year, so i enjoy this opportunity to replenish them.

Planting the bulbs now means that i can put them exactly where i want them with regard to other flowering bulbs instead of playing the blind-man's-bluff of fall planting. "Let's see. Where were those daffodils? Where were those Siberian squill? Hmmm. Where exactly do i want to plant hyacinths?"

Jump-starting our meditation practice by going on retreat is a good way to experience how meditation can bloom for us. Then we can plant ourselves on the cushion at home with more intention. Perhaps we can find a nearby meditation group where we can sit together weekly and sprout some Dharma friendships.

May the Dharma bloom in your heart.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blooming Bromeliad

My bromeliad is blooming! Although pineapple is the most familiar member of this family, hundred of bromeliads grow in the tropics, and some few of those become our houseplants.

My bromeliad came from a friend who was suffering severe respiratory problems and off-loading all her houseplants because she was allergic to the molds and mildews in the potting soil.

When our distress becomes great enough, we simplify our lives and give away our sources of suffering. Formerly, we thought these things were beautiful or desirable. Then, our viewpoint changes, and we see things as they really are.

Our friends still believe in beauty and desirability, but we see the stress involved with this beautiful thing. We see things as they really are.
This is our next step on our path to awakening.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Watering Our Meditation Practice

My sweetie watered the houseplants while i was on my 1-month retreat, and he was very happy to hand the watering can back to me the minute i walked in the door. He is a faithful waterer; i am a bit haphazard.

How do we water out meditation practice? Some of us find it relatively easy to follow through on our commitments--we are loyal and faithful in our intention. Some of us need more support. I have the support of 2 neighbors with whom i meditate every morning for 20 minutes. I also made a deal with a fellow retreatant to meditate 2 hours a day, so we are e-mailing little post-a-notes to each other every day on how we are doing. After all, we commit to sit, one sitting at a time.

Today, i have pasted together a 1 hour sit on my own at 5 a.m.; a 40-minute sit at the meditation center at 7 a.m.; and, at 8 a.m., my 20-minute sit with my neighbors. There. I've followed through on my intention for the day; i've watered my meditation practice.

With regular watering, our meditation thrives.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dancing Raccoons

At my month-long retreat, my daily chore was to take out the trash, the compost, and the recycling. What a perfect job for this Master Composter!

As i walked out the kitchen door with a 5-gallon bucket of kitchen waste, i would sometimes be met by a dancing raccoon who both wanted what was in the bucket and was too shy to come too close.

Wanting and not wanting. How many times a day is this same civil war re-enacted in our own mind? We want the pleasant (compost in a bucket), and we don't want the unpleasant (People! People!).

This on-going dance of attraction and repulsion is another definition of stress. We, like the raccoons, want to approach the goodies, but we may want to avoid some unpleasantness or other.

We could just dance with life.