I enjoy gardening. It's one of my favourite activities. It keeps me in the moment. Not only is it peaceful, but to me, it's really so reflective of life. Planting the seeds of plants that I would like in my garden is a joy. However for the garden to flourish, it's critical to manage the weeds that quietly grow within. Weeding: "remove an inferior or unwanted component of a group or collection" In the past week, I have had the chance to dedicate my time and attention on gardening, and it has reminded me so much of what I also need to do, mentally. As I weeded, I had to be so careful and gentle not to destroy too much of my 'good' grass but at the same time, ensure that the roots of the weeds were extracted and removed best I could. I recognized that I would need to necessarily commit time and effort to keep the weeds under control. It's the same in our minds and in life. Like weeds in our mind garden, cluster and noise in our minds crowd out the good thoughts we wish to cultivate, and hinder the development of our positive intentions. Let us figure out how we may be able to remove these unwanted or inferior components within our minds so that the good and the better may flourish.
Anger sometimes makes people do unfortunate things. Fear sometimes makes people do unfortunate things. Anger and fear arises within us. It's human to do so. But let not these emotions control us.
I had my whole day planned out, with the morning schedule filled with an errand, 2 hours of meditative gardening, followed by an afternoon of family and spiritual activities. On my first errand, I dropped and lost my car keys. Over the following hour as I retraced my route several times, I had a sparing battle with myself. I managed to refrain from beating myself up for being careless, but was extremely bothered by the prospect of spending the best part of of my Saturday sorting out this 'silly' mistake. Recognizing that I couldn't change this outcome, and instead of fretting about it, I told myself to figure out how I could transform this into something positive. I reflected for a few moments, embraced the situation and then directed loving kindness to myself. Just like a child who has tripped and hurt himself or herself, the best thing a parent could do is first to direct care and affection to the child. It wouldn't be wise to yell at the child for being careless! I mentally went through what I am done earlier and knew what I wouldn't repeat again. I had even earlier thought that if I put keys here (I was wearing running shorts), it may actually fall out! Unfortunately I did not heed the voice inside my head. I made a mental note to make two extra copies of my car keys and as I fixed the situation over the following 3 hours, I managed to [...]
We are humans and possess minds with incredible potential. Often we may feel that we are working the mind only when we analyse and solve intricate problems. I am a major culprit here. But the ability to just experience the present is potent. Try letting go of active thinking once in a while. Stop thinking about what is to be done, what needs to be finished and accomplished, datelines etc. Instead, just experience everything around you, everything in you. Just BE. MIND BE ME.
I have had the luxury of much more time for internal reflections and observations in the past weeks, with increased time spent on subway trains. Today I took a moment to generate gratitude for all who have helped make this efficient transport system happen. So many of us have benefited indeed. Thank you. Take a moment next time you use something, or eat something nutritious and delicious. Take a mental moment to trace it back to its origins and generate a feeling of gratitude for everyone who has been involved in its journey so that you may enjoy its benefits. This is a wonderful practice to be grateful for much of what life offers us.
Triggers. These set us off on actions or reactions which we are not consciously in control off. Often we regret our actions. There are also positive actions that we are able to cultivate which may be triggered. For example, I am used to the ringing of medicine bowls prior to my meditation sessions. Each time I hear them now, an instant doze of calm courses through my mind and body. How do we reduce the probability of negative triggered responses and increase the probability of positive triggered responses? Mindfulness should help - being aware of our triggers and anticipating situations where these triggers present themselves. We may also be able to influence our seemingly automatic responses through meditation. Something I will work on this week.