And What Is The Path? – Faith

my  favourite autumn tree -the liquid Amber
my favourite autumn tree -Liquid Amber in Fall

Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.” ~Max Ehrmann

Keeping peace with our soul is something we all yearn for. No one wants discord in their lives. But what happens when feelings of  anger, isolation and fear are experienced? What do we do? We know feelings of fragmentation and alienation are part of our lives. They come with being human.  Keeping peace with our souls is never easy. Easy to write about to quote on to preach to others but…. for the acid test?

For example, I had the most beautiful garden, the boundary being formed of very old and  beautiful trees. I loved my secluded garden with a passion. It was my haven. A thing of fine and rare beauty.  Then in April, 2011,  a local woman bought the land next door. The first thing she did was to hack down most of the old trees, leaving our garden utterly destroyed to one side and we also lost our boundary. She was not suppose to hack them down. They belonged to the community and were planted many years ago as wind breakers.   Still, she  owned the boundary so went ahead with the mutilation anyway.  It was hard to stand by helplessly trying to reason with her, while the buzz-saws crunched their way through tree after tree. I wanted to kill her!  I can’t say I was at peace with my soul, that day or any day after.  I suffered, I cried, I grieved for those trees. Then about a year ago, I grew tired of being angry and sad. It dawn but slowly how much I’d allowed this  woman to have power over me. She was enjoying her garden but I wasn’t mine.   I knew  the trees could never grow again but I  still had the  rest of my beautiful garden. I would plant new trees and new plants. And this is what I did.  I chose to open up and to heal, to realize that this was one of those lessons in life we learn abruptly,  that nothing is forever. Life is impertinent on all levels. A small twist to the story. It took two years to recreate my lovely garden again. I was content again.  Then over Christmas during the storms, we lost a huge forty foot conifer, a Liquid Amber tree and a Mock Orange!   I guess its time to give up loving trees, at least too much. For loving them too much is to lose them.  😉 At least I was not flooded like the “woman tree mutilator” next door. Should I say she deserved it? -Naaaah, it’s all part of  the slap stick comedy we call life..

rose arch in the front garden

Our aspirations, our calling, our desire for a genuine life,

is to see the truth of who we really are—
that the nature of our Being is connectedness and love,
not the illusion of a separate self to which our suffering clings.
It is from this awareness that Life can flow through us;
the Unconditioned manifesting freely as our conditioned body.

And what is the path?
To learn to reside in whatever life presents.
To learn to attend to all those things
that block the flow of a more open life;
and to see them as the very path of awakening—
all that which constructs, the identities,
the holding back, the protections,
all of the fears, the self-judgments, the blame—
all that separates us from letting Life be… ~ Ezra Bayda

Ezra Bayda is a Zen teacher affiliated with the Ordinary Mind Zen School, having received formal dharma transmission in 1998 from the school’s founding teacher,

5 thoughts on “And What Is The Path? – Faith

  1. our suffering clings… indeed it will…it is natural in body that any injury must sting in the mind… recording throughout all of the universe this sting… every atom of the body transmitting to every near kin atom scattered throughout this cosmos, the hurt that requires God’s healing. The ego then recoils and as it must to defend against spirit that it cannot be near. The mind identifies strongly with the body and thus succumbs usually to the recoiling ego… cringing the muscles and readying the body again to fight or run from the unseen threat. Time passes slowly at first and then with great speed as the circumstance change. Thus, a harm is recorded and the body associates this with the cause. Being unprepared, the mind has no solution to apply. The mind was designed to be loved and to love, not to dole out fixes for harms. It knows little of harm and happily forgets what little it manages to know. The ego though plots against it, keeping it off its game, giving the mind more to hide from every time it may pause to consider where the love is with its fellow. “No, not that one,” the ego directs. Hate, resentment, bitter memories, sadness — all ego tool for maintaining separation of mind from spirit.

    Even though this I know, I forget this when there is suffering.

    We must resist the urge to pull together before receiving the miracle of connection with the highest spiritual knowledge that we ever attained. As you know, I follow Jesus when thinking about my shortcomings… He commands to love our enemies… that is not possible unless we have the miracle of love within us – strongly and with steadfast resolve to apply love to every situation that prompts our ego to recoil from spirit.

    Blessings Eve… I tear for you and pray for you to rest any weariness of your mind in comforting spirit.
    ~ Eric


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