I heard a little gem of simplicity at a day long meditation retreat I attended on Sunday. It was suggested that when working with "right speech" from the eightfold path, rather than thinking of it as a rule, we could use it to look at our intentions. Why did I just say that? Why did I criticize or speak sharply or whatever it is that happens to fly out of our mouths. Examining our speech in this way is an opportunity to go deeper. Often we might find our words were motivated by fear. Maybe it's fear that we might not get what we want. Anger might cover up our hurt, some tender spot that's been poked by someone. Does some circumstance make us feel small or vulnerable or unconsidered?
I like the idea of considering what motivated my "wrong speech" because it gives me the opportunity to get to know myself a little better. Often that wrong speech just pops out and then we go on to justify what we've said (or done). But if we stop and do a little archeological dig, we might find that just a certain look on someone's face can trigger insecurity in us which then might prompt us to say something less than friendly. We are filled with these Pavlovian responses that murmur along like little underground streams. Our awareness can help us unearth these little streams, even dry them up in some cases. But if we know where the streams are at least we won't drown in them. Okay someone turn the hose on me, enough streaming (and without video, oi!)
I have been enjoying the simplicity of just painting and gardening. The more time I spend in the studio, the more I seem to settle into it, the more I want to get back in there, (kind of like sitting meditation, don't you think?). I have a few more new pieces to post (gasp!) and 7 pieces found their way to Starfish Gallery in Ganges today. If you're in the neighbourhood, pop in for a look.
And the garden.... As well as simplicity, it is a source of sheer joy for me. I could just go out there in the morning with my coffee and stay for the day. As the day wears on and I tire I tend to get closer to the ground. It's quite funny to watch. Eventually I am down there at eye level with the cilantro and the slugs, happily doing a little hand weeding. Who is that woman crawling through the garden? But I am tired and happy. There are the pleasing rows of freshly watered plants, the bursts of orange california poppies and the divine scent of a yellow honeysuckle, a smell so large it fills the entire garden in the evening.
I will end with a lovely garden quote that has a very dharmaesque quality. It's from a little book I love called "Zen Gardening" by Veronica Ray. "The principle value of a private garden is not to give the possessor vegetable and fruit... but to teach him patience and philosophy, the higher virtues, -- hope deferred and expectations blighted." - Charles Dudley Warner.