|Taken at the Japanese Garden in Seattle|
The pond is ridiculously large and has been neglected for a long time. One of our summer projects was to get out as much debris as we could while the water level of the pond was low. But summer has morphed into fall and projects have stretched out like stale bubblegum and the rains have started.
This morning as I sat in meditation thoughts bubbled up, some less pleasant than others . This led the mind to snag onto thoughts about muck-raking. As I dragged things out of the pond yesterday, the odour of all that rotting stuff was pretty pungent, (not unlike some of the thoughts that were bubbling up to the surface as I sat.)
I was reminded of a neighbour's comment when I suggested I might use some of the submerged leaves and muck on my garden beds. As a master gardener with extensive gardening knowledge she said it might not be a good idea as the material was probably "anaerobic" (without oxygen). I guess theory being, it might actually suffocate the soil. Muck, lack of oxygen, I could feel my mind-pond gasping for air. It reminded me that in this cerebral pond, instead of diving for cover and rejecting those thoughts I categorize as unpleasant, I could simply provide some space and air, to simply let them bubble up and be. I didn't need to do anything with them. They could come to the surface of my mind-pond, let off their little stink and be gone (for now anyway).
After a number of days of muck-raking (down at the pond) yesterday I admired our work. The shore, while still muddy was free from all the broken twigs and this year's fallen leaves. Lots of the large, partially submerged branches had been pulled out so that the pond no longer looks like some crazy pot of dirty soup (at least at the south end). The water suckers sprouting up from the alder trees were trimmed and some alders removed completely. It was a pleasing, more orderly sight.
All this work reminded me of my own mind-pond. It takes concerted effort to change the mental landscape. It seems to me there are two kinds of mind-pond work. We work with both inner and outer tributaries of the pond. We need to let those slightly stinky, submerged thoughts rise and pop like bubbles. With this, we are injecting much needed oxygen, working with the outflow, cleaning the pond. The there's the purification of the pond, the streaming in (or raining down) of clean mind-water, an important step that is often overlooked. We can choose our thoughts. We can choose to pour wholesome, helpful thoughts into our minds. We can remind ourselves to be grateful for everything, to pour lovingkindess into ourselves to alkalize both our mind and bodies, instead of continuing with our somewhat sour, acidic thoughts.
Both ponds, the one across the meadow and the one I carry with me are still in need of reparation. There is still muck-raking to do, snags to snafoo, smelly stuff, prone to rot and suffocate the environment to be liberated. So the process continues, the skillful, concerted effort of pond cleaning.
And like so many things in this life, (eating, washing the dishes) it's time to start all over again when we're done! But we can do this muck-raking with joy and enthusiasm, knowing it is our work. We are making this earthly environment better by our efforts. And you will be glad that we are still at the point in our virtual life that there is no "sniff" function on blogger yet. Now back to the muck raking