Tag: wisdom

The tree speaks

Photo credit: Phillippe Demande via 123rf.com

Today, I’m sharing a friend’s writing, with their permission. Apart from my desire to share their brilliant writing with a wider audience, I wanted to promote them.  Alas, the friend wishes to stay anonymous – for now. And even if you’d be able to speak to them in person, they’d deny they wrote this letter below. They’d tell you they found it on their front lawn one morning in March, and that it was written in dew drops. All they did was transcribe it for us to read.

To me, the content of this letter is an example of outward expression of open awareness and a great sensitivity going beyond just our speciest viewpoint.

A virus is sweeping the world.
It’s killed many of us and will sicken most of us to various degrees.
It restricts our movements, confining us to ever-smaller spaces.
It’s a constant threat to our economy, in particular to our food and its circulation.

This latest antiviral drug, COVID-19, isn’t a cure, however initial signs are positive that it can slow its progression significantly.
And currently, species everywhere are enjoying a better quality of life.

However, we must remember that this virus is an amazing mutator and expect that it won’t be long until COVID-19 becomes ineffective.
Enjoy the reprieve – because we expect it to be short-lived.

– Tree, addressing the Council of Non-Human Life Forms (CNLF), March 2020

My friend went on to comment: “It’s cheeky but it’s true. Like the weed versus plant debate, we’re eradicating something for our benefit alone with little consideration for the impact on the global community. This virus is anti-humanity but I’d say it’s very pro-life. That being said, don’t spread it or flout lockdown – I’m sharing this to encourage the reflection that COVID-19 must be churning up in us all.

Let’s not waste this suffering, let’s learn from it as much as we can, so that when it calms down, we’ve grown up a little and live less like the irresponsible, disrespectful, selfish teenage dickheads that we’ve been living as for far too long.”

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Humans temporarily halted, reprieve for other creatures and plants. [Photo by Sanga Park via 123rf.com]

The space between reaction and action

One of the positive side effects of mindfulness meditation practice I’m enjoying is my increased “response time”, the widened pause between a feeling/reaction and subsequent action (including replying to someone, or doing something, or making a decision). It allows me moment-to-moment time to rest in whatever sensations/emotions/thoughts arise in mind and body – due to interactions with other people or circumstances I’ve found myself in, or as a result of thinking patterns. And it  feels comfortable to do so, even though the feeling-sensations flooding through me may not necessarily be that great. It diffuses the internal or external pressures to respond, say something, do something, now!

I want to emphasize that I said “side effect” of mindfulness practice, because it is not something you need to try or strive for to make it happen. It will occur automatically with regular formal practice. Bonus! It’s a manifestation in real time of what Victor E. Frankl meant when he said:

This space can feel like silence or calm, or simply a moment extra to spare before jumping to conclusions or into action. A space for clarity. A space to rest in and relax. And that, my friend, is good for body, mind, others and the world around you.

#NZ Lockdown Day 3

When I was eight years old, my mother gave me the best advice ever: whenever you’re in doubt of what to do or confused about something, listen to your heart. I knew straightaway what she meant, and I knew she didn’t refer to my physical heart, or even my emotional feelings. She was pointing to my instinctual heart! In later years, she admitted sometimes regretting having told me so, because some of my decisions were ones she’d prefer me not to make. A bit later still, I would sometimes find myself in situations that felt uncomfortable or completely out of control, messy and disastrous (according to mind and emotions), and until the dust would settle to reveal a greater clarity than before, I would curse myself for not referring to the (conditioned)* mind. I also found out that what I sometimes think is my heart speaking, is in fact my mind. This is one of the reasons why I took up mindfulness meditation: I knew it would strengthen my “ear” for my (untainted) heart, which really is another word for inherent wisdom. Even the instinctual heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised if you want to use it. Living in a time (the 2020s!) that is ruled on survival based, scientific capitalist principles, sometimes intermingled with exoteric religion, consoling “spirituality” or psychological “positivity”, I need such strength to stay focused so I can hear my heart, even in the midst of this noisy world with its distractions, attractions, external opinions, media and knowledge. Because my instinctual heart is the location of my true peace and inherent wisdom, the natural intelligence I need to live a strong, happy and healthy life, the maypole I dance around. And it tells me it is the same for you. Keep practising!

*at that point I didn’t realise minds were conditioned or what that meant, I only found out about that even later still.

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