Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Lesson in the Weeds

The last several weeks, after having gotten back from our holiday in Nova Scotia, I’ve been weeding. There’s a lot of weeding to do, believe me. I have wood chip pathways throughout much of the property that’s nestled among the indigenous, natural growth of wildflowers, grasses, blackberries, and other assorted plant life. All this growth is native to the Cumberland Plateau.
I have a wet-weather creek (about 200 feet long) that originates well into the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area that our property abuts. When a heavy rain falls, the creek and its ponds will flow for 10 days or so. The creek, landscaped with natural river rock, houses all sorts of frogs, toads, skinks, a few crayfish, and several large green turtles.
When it’s been raining and the verdant green of the yard is lush and all the critters are happy, it is a beautiful relaxing park-like setting. However the weeds like it, too. To keep them under control is a crawling, knees-on-the-ground, very manual effort. While I’m crawling along, I can almost see the ticks, chiggers, biting flies, and fire ants texting each other: “It’s Party-Time!” Brother, do they all respond! To them I’m a slow-moving buffet with excellent, healthy blood.
Nevertheless, while I’m weeding my mind is generally pretty neutral. I’m in the NOW with the natural universe. I’m not debating anticipated arguments. I’m not reminiscing about my selective memories of my perceived past – neither “good” nor “bad” memories. I just am. I am weeding. I am uncovering a nest of ants. I am watching a black snake or a skink (a form of Gecko) or a sunning frog. I just am. And, while in this neutral state of mind, thoughts come – some of them rather profound. Yesterday, while cleaning the creek banks and bed, I realized my thoughts are like these weeds.
Weeds just pop up. Rain. Pop. Weeds. There’s nothing wrong with weeds – they are natural – unless they are where I don’t want them to be. Unattended, they’ll grow and produce more weeds. If I let them go, my creek begins to be overrun. I need to be a little vigilant and disciplined with them.
I began to think: “It’s the same with my thoughts.” They are always running though my head. They are constant. If I’m awake, my thoughts are there. Awake. Pop. Thoughts.
Where do they come from? I think sometimes they spring forth from some perpetual wellspring of little thought-babies that are created from nothingness and, as they mature, migrate from my unconscious to my conscious mind where they move from one ear to the other then out into ether. The only thing that seems to stop this flow of thoughts is to focus on one for a while. But when I do that, the flow doesn’t seem to abate.  All that seems to happen is I’ve somehow created a new “channel” for other, similar thoughts to show up. Where did all my other thoughts, that had been in the queue, go? Thought-baby heaven? Perhaps. Maybe that’s right next door to the place where all my missing socks have gone. And keys. And lost receipts.
I guess my point is this: I realized I will pull up a weed in order to keep it from crowding out a flowering plant. I am not pulling up a weed because it is a “bad” plant. If I don’t, the weed will multiply and it will become more difficult for me to stay on top of things. It is the same with how I treat my random thoughts. These little thought-babies are not “bad” things. They just are. I am training my higher mind to keep them a little under control so they don’t crowd out my ability to hear the whispers of The Divine.
Things can go “wrong” when I’m weeding. Sometimes I do think weeds are “bad” things. They are ruining the look of “my” yard. What’ll the neighbors think? Without weeding properly the property value of our house will decline. We’ll become poor and be reduced to eating dog food on crackers. The weeds will crowd out my vegetable greens and we’ll be reduced to eating more dog food on even more crackers. Then our pups will starve. Would I then boil their bones to make a broth in which to cook some rice – a welcome relief from the steady diet of dog food?
Of course, I’m being facetious – but, trust me, my thoughts can get out of control at times and lead me to a merry-go-round of insanity. And that’s exactly where my ego likes me to be, so I’ll turn to it and ask it for help. It’ll gladly provide me with “answers” that underscore the ”reality” of lack, the “reality” of vulnerability, and the “protection” of proper vigilance against the dog-eat-dog world it wants me to believe in. All that is equally insane – but that particular form of insanity is hidden from me because it’s such a common perception.
I think I’ll continue to pluck my thoughts like weeds, refusing to pay attention to them, and continue training my higher mind to listen for the whispers of true reality – the whispers of The Divine: “Don, you and I are One. There is nothing we can’t handle.” As the Introduction to A Course in Miracles (ACIM) states: “… This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this manner: Nothing real (which is only Love) can be threatened. Nothing unreal (which is everything else) exists. Therein lies the peace of God.”
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#2 July, 2014

Copyright, 2014

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