Sunday, March 22, 2009
The Zen of Maintenence
I've become one with my straw broom. Unlike its noisy, polluting cousin, aka the leaf blower, there's something soothing about sweeping away winter's dead leaves and branches to make way for spring. When I cleaned out the meditation garden recently, I discovered some day lillies already breaking ground.
The garden itself was a surprise, a cozy space created between the new addition and our house. Its limited sensory experience gives it a quiet that's sometimes lacking from the rest of our busy house, so I dubbed it the meditation garden. I've thrown in all sorts of symbols to the space: a wrought iron cross, a statue of Vishnu, another of Buddha, as well as some secular offerings: a sun dial, bird houses, and James's bronze sculptures of airplanes. But it was the addition of the gong that transformed the space. (In fact, as I type this, I hear one of the children banging away.) Gong meditation-- hit the gong and listen to the range of reverberation-- trains the mind to focus on one element. Of course it's a huge 'hit' at parties where we learn about our guests by their gonging techniques. One lovely and quiet young woman nearly dented the gong with her forceful approach. Who knew?
It's very rare that I've actually had time to meditate in the garden. Oftentimes I get there and see something that needs watering or weeding, so instead of "OM", I'm pulling out the hose or digging in the dirt. During this last clean up, I decided to take the time to consider each detail and activity with mindfulness, blocking out everything else. When I was done, I felt more refreshed than if I had simply forced my way through the chores, hoping to finish with enough time to meditate. But with my straw broom, later is now.