Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tending the Garden in My Heart

I continue to feel moved to focus on the heart. Throughout each day, paying attention to the stirrings within, and noticing the constant changes. Most precious has been Ayya Khema's image of the inner garden with flowers and weeds. The flowers are the beautiful emotions in the love family - love, compassion, rejoicing, and equanimity. The weeds are the hindrances that keep arising and need constant attention - greed, ill will, anger, fear, worries . . . 

There is no shortage of reasons to visit the garden in my heart. Each time, feeling the love or its possibility, and right next to it, a small weed or a tall one. Some weeds are more easy to see than others. When I feel envy, it is not hard noticing the immediate unpleasantness. Wise mind knows better than to linger in such thoughts. Instead, better step back at once and name the weed. Envy, envy, I am going to cut you down right there, right now, so that I can see and feel the beautiful pink flower. Opening the heart is a habit that can be cultivated, like anything else. 

Other weeds are harder to see, as they have a way of blending with the blooms. Feeling love, it would be easy to overlook the tinge of attachment and fear that comes along. Yet, there is no mistaking the slight constriction in the throat, the tension in the chest. What I call love needs to be stripped from such weeds. 

This is an all consuming practice that leaves little interest for writing about the practice . . . 

How are you taking care of your heart?

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