Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Playing with Flowers

"In My Meditation Garden"

As I entered the Supermarket yesterday I found myself surrounded by a garden of freshly picked flowers - a celebration of the Easter and the springtime season greeting every customer entering the store.

The flowers were so inviting that I found myself spending some time browsing in that section of the store and when I got home I noticed this wonderful fragrance wafting through my house - it was the smell of all those fresh flowers from that store. Their scent had literally rubbed off on me, sticking to my clothing, and I was immediately reminded of a wonderful Zen saying that I think about from time to time:

I play with flowers and their fragrance clings to my clothes.

I have discovered that many apparently obvious Zen sayings like this are often quite profound in their meaning if I take the time to reflect on them.  If I spend time among flowers, I will smell like flowers, if I spend time rummaging through the garbage, I will smell like garbage.

If I spend my time thinking about the days gone past, wallowing in regret or perhaps even remorse, my life will begin to reek of remorse and regret. If I spend my days ambitiously plotting and planning, climbing the ladder of success, my life will begin to take on the odor of ambition. If I spend my days acquiring, hoarding and clinging onto more and more stuff, my life will begin to smell like piles of old unused stuff wasting away in mothballs in a stuffy old closet somewhere. 

But if I spend my time paying attention to the surprises of the present moment, living with kindness, compassion, mercy and forgiveness, that's what rubs off on me- the fresh smell of those flowers clings to the clothing of my life. 

I am reminded of a little story that comes out of the Native American wisdom tradition. A grandfather imparts a life-lesson to a question posed by his young grandson:

I have two wolves fighting in my heart.
One is vengeful, fearful, envious, resentful, deceitful.
The other wolf is loving, compassionate, generous, truthful and serene.
which wolf will win the fight?

The grandfather answers:
The one you feed!

This morning I can actually still smell the remaining residue of those flowers from that store yesterday - an important reminder to heighten my awareness of who I hang out with in my life, where I spend my time, where I focus my attention. I'd much rather smell like fresh flowers than reek of mothballs and spoiled trash. 

It seems so true to me that the wolf that wins my heart will indeed be the one I feed.  

Listen to my podcast: "Desert Wisdom"

1 comment:

  1. Zen wisdom is the wisdom of life and experience. This afternoon when the sun is not so intense I will plant flower seeds. Enjoyed this reading quite a bit.