Sunday, March 20, 2011


I wouldn't insist, but I do think that everyone deserves to find a way into their own garden. I use the word "garden" not just in some lyrical, self-help-y sense, but rather as a tentative word to describe the place within that requires no guile or energy, a place where things are complete and at ease. It is a serious place that lacks ordinary solemnities. Maybe it's like going to some weekend spa where the things supplied are enough and "more" and "less" have no relevance.

I was fortunate in my life to hook up with Zen practice. It suited me as a road map to a garden. A road map is not a garden, but it is a map... a map in which I wouldn't insist anyone else indulge. It's the garden that's important -- the place in which things are utterly OK.

I do think there is a lot of searching for the correct map, the map that anyone might be willing to follow, the unsharable map, but I do think that, in the end, any map will do. The willingness to follow it, come hell or high water, come heaven or hell, come hypocrisy or wisdom, come birth or death ... to open the garden gate is a good idea.

None of this is something anyone can convey to anyone else except, perhaps, in shared uncertainties, shared doubts, a shared sense that something is somehow missing. Institutions and exercises abound when it comes to what is missing. Some are more insistent than others...promising, promising, promising.

But of course whether institutions or exercises keep their promises is not up to the institutions or exercises. Some of them are pretty good. Some are more full of shit than a Christmas goose. But keeping promises -- opening the garden gate and entering -- depends on those who decide to follow a particular map.

A garden is a nice place. Who could argue with a carrot or a cucumber? Who could dispute sun and rain? Who could improve or disapprove of anything whatsoever? A place to relax and stop trying. Just to know it is there and to visit now and then strikes me as good nourishment. Big or small -- good nourishment.

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