Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Drenching Your Mind

My houseplants are living in the shade of a second-story deck. Still, in this hot weather, they need to be watered daily. This chore is actually pretty quick--a squirt of the hose and everything is drenched within a couple of minutes.

We water our peace of mind by meditating daily. If summer is busy, then perhaps you can only take 2 minutes--in your car or at the swimming pool.

Drench yourself with a moment of calmness and feel refreshed.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Transplanting Happiness

While i was at the meditation center last week, one of the staff, Kristy, dug up a patch of irises and daylilies and replanted them along a stone wall.  I stop gardening in July because it's too hot to transplant, but Kristy was undeterred by the heat.

I went in to the 7 p.m. meditation, and she was digging. 45 minutes later, when i walked out, she was watering the new bed heavily.

This is a great example of "beginner's mind." Kristy had intention; she applied effort; she got results. The expert (me) wouldn't have applied the effort, because the expert "knows too much."

Sometimes, we think that by transplanting the expert's knowledge/opinion into our own experience, we'll reduce our stress. That can be true.
But we might also reduce our happiness.

Kristy looked pretty happy about the new flower bed. And i've been waiting for years for someone to do something with that overgrown patch of daylilies and irises, so i was happy too :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Giving and Its Unseen Strings

The last two 90-degree days brought breezes with them and gave us the delightful treat of hot and cool at the same time. Breezes blowng through open windows felt delightful in the meditation hall.

One sangha volunteer brought a bouquet of flowers for the visiting nun who was leading the meditation and teaching. Another meditator quietly moved the bouquet to the anteroom, due to chemical sensitivities.

How do you feel when your act of generosity is not accepted?

Perhaps you offer something and the recipient says, "No thanks."
Or perhaps they accept, but don't put your gift in a place of honor (such as the flowers at the meditation hall).
Or perhaps they accept, but then pass the gift on to someone else.

These are all opportunities to look at our intentions. Ostensibly, we thought we were being generous. But then we see/feel the strings we had unknowingly attached to our gift.

We want the recipient to be happy or grateful or surprised.
Or we want them to like us or love us.
Maybe we want them to think well of us. But perhaps they think ill of us for giving them something they consider as useless or even ugly.

The road to hell, as well as the road to stress and distress, is paved with good intentions.

Let's be kind to ourselves. We give because we want to give. Period.

How the recipient responds is none of our business.