Hello and welcome to this glorious Friday, February 21, 2020! This is a rare and precious day that will never come again. Depending on where you live, it’s about time to start thinking about what you’d like to harvest from this year’s garden. What seeds will you sow?
A few weeks ago, when I was in Carbondale, Colorado, I planted a seed in the “New Beginnings” weekly letter. In that writing, I reflected on the inspiring truth that while our present moment is defined by past causes and conditions, if we are mindful, we can start anew at any given moment. The seed I planted a few weeks ago suggested that we can influence our future moments in positive and meaningful ways by being intentional about the seeds we plant.
So many things outside of our control define the present moment. Depending on where you were born and to which family you were born in to helps to shape who you are. What schools you had the opportunity to go to influences the quality of the education you received. How much traffic on the road (remember – you are traffic) impacts how early you get home from work. Just as your coworkers do, a new boss may (re)define your work environment. If the weather changes, you may become too hot or too cold. These are just a few examples of different causes and conditions that influence your present moment. But what do we contribute to our present moment?
I wasn’t your model child (or adult – ha). I suppose I could say that I wasn't always a model of good behavior. One of my many practiced and unskillful behaviors was dishonesty. If I wasn’t flat out lying, I was embellishing. As a compulsive falsifier of truth, I learned at an early age that either I had to avoid talking about the subject again, keep the story going, deny that I lied (yet another lie!) or confess. Anything but the last! The hardest part about habitual story telling is that one must remember the story. And when one tells so many stories, it’s a lot to remember! I learned a wonderful lesson: If you never tell a lie, you don’t ever have to remember what you said. Back to seeds.
Each time I lied, I planted a seed that eventually led to suffering to some extent or another. The falsehood always produced [rotten] fruit. Sometimes the fruit took on the form of punishment, sometimes the form of humiliation, sometimes the form of a confession, but always in the form of shame! You’d think as an adult, one might figure this out. No. I had to continue to tell ridiculous misrepresentations, inaccuracies, fabrications and flat out lies until like, shoot, I’m still working on it! The grooves are deep!
When I lie, I plant a seed of suffering. The more I water the seed either through proliferation or denial, the more I suffer. I’ve done a lot of exploration on my propensity to lie. It runs deep and is fed by insecurity, low self-worth and not enoughedness. Every meow and then, lies just slip out – when I’m not mindful.
The seeds that cause suffering in my life, and the lives of others, are those of dishonesty, unkindness, criticism, contempt, arrogance, righteousness, comparison, sarcasm, narrow-mindedness, being opinionated, shall I go on? No! When I think, speak or act in these unskillful ways, I am planting seeds of suffering that at some point in my future, in one fashion or another, I will get to harvest. The seeds we sow most always grow. Sometimes, I unmindfully plant these harmful and unbeneficial seeds of suffering. But if I catch myself, I don’t have to water and nurture these seeds of suffering. I can pull them like weeds from my garden.
When I’m mindful, I don’t plant seeds of suffering.
I love doing this Mindfulness work. It truly helps me to live a more meaningful and purposeful life. It teaches me how to plant the seeds of loving-kindness, compassion, equanimity and empathetic joy. However, just because we plant the seeds we want to grow in our life, does not mean that they’ll grow on their own. We need to water and nourish our seeds. We need to tend to our garden and vigilantly watch for destructive thoughts and behaviors that decimate our crops and sterilize the fertile soil.
We can tend our gardens by setting daily intentions (plant a seed) to practice; meditating; continuously calling to mind what our values are; reflecting on the impermanent nature of our existence and how we would like to live our one rare and precious life; feeding our mind, body and spirit with good food – literally and figuratively. A quote by William James keeps finding its way into my consciousness. James states, “For the moment, what we tend to becomes our reality.” The more we focus our attention on destructive, violent, divisive and harmful media, movies and books, the more we water the seeds of suffering. The more we focus our attention on things that are imbued with kindness, benevolence, compassion, acceptance, wisdom and understanding, the more we nurture and grow the seeds of love.
May your harvest be tasty 😊
I love you and there isn’t anything that you can do about it!
Tending My Garden,
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