Bodhi (zenbodhi) wrote,

Cuddly Panda-Bear Zen™, 2009 Edition.

A green pine is in the east garden,
But the many grasses obscure it.
A frost wipes out all the other species,
And then I see its magnificent tall branches.
In a forest people do not notice it, but
Standing alone, it is a miracle.
I hang a jug of wine on a cold branch;
Then stand back, and look again and again.
My life spins with dreams and illusions.
Why then be fastened to the world?

- T’ao Ch’ien
Sometimes our world is so small that we can't see the bigger things around us. In western culture, the saying goes, "You can't see the forest for the trees." Despite having this vast tool called the internet, we live in very small worlds. Sometimes we come out of our shells and realize that there's this entire world out there. I try to keep up with world events, and not just those that happen in the Middle East. Believe it or not, I pay more attention to what's going on in the U.K. than I do what's going on in the Gaza strip. But, what about the worlds we live in? Are we really in tune with what's going on with the people around us? Our friends? Our families? Are we really aware of what's going on with our own lives? There are so many things that obscure our awareness of even our own lives–work stress, relationship stress, television, the internet, video games, sports...  We don't pay all that much attention to ourselves and our inherent worth or goals.  We don't take the time to address our emotional states.

Sometimes something comes along that changes all of that.  All these external things fall by the wayside and the "big picture" becomes clear.  Usually these events are either catastrophic or so intense that we cannot help but ignore them.  They can consume our entire world and we may not be able to see anything but that one singular event.  It's huge, so much bigger than our own world.  It might be finding that special person–or losing them.  Whatever it may be, it may consume your entire world and you may be swimming in your own dreams or illusions.  I know that sometimes I get stuck there, but I always manage to find my way back to reality.  I'm a very grounded kind of person, but not everyone is like that.  Some people just have their heads in the clouds, which is fine for a while, so long as they don't either do something that harms themselves or let themselves be taken advantage of.

So what do we do?  What can we do but live in the moment, mindful of the future and yet with an eye to the past.  Keep your mind on what it is that you're doing and where it is that you're going.  Know where your life is going and where you want it to go.

Tags: zen
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