Friday, January 22, 2016

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Here I sit this afternoon watching a snowstorm do it’s business on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau. It’s a cold, gray Friday and the sky is dumping a mix of drizzle and sleet amidst mostly snow. Sometimes the snowflakes are quarter-sized, some times much smaller. When the flakes are large and floating downward like autumn leaves it is very beautiful, quiet and serene. The smell of a snowstorm is very distinct to me. The crunch of the snow under foot is comforting and deadens the typical noise of the surrounding hardwood forest that is our backyard, where the deer and squirrels move silently as they search for something edible. I feel sorry for them and want to run out and give them a healthy granola bar or some other snack.
I just finished yesterday with cleaning up after Wednesday’s storm. So, as I sit here, I am thinking of the difficulty and mess that’ll be involved in cleaning up the walks and driveway tomorrow.
But that’s not living in the NOW, is it?
What’s wrong with me – worrying about tomorrow rather than living today? What’s wrong with planning? Anticipating? Preparing? Do these mental activities interfere with my spiritual development? Am I “giving in” to some temptations of my fleshly body or am I simply spiritually weak?
Then I remember the old Buddhist saying about the difference between the enlightened and the unenlightened: “Before enlightenment, I arose in the morning and went out to carry water and chop wood. After enlightenment, I arose in the morning and went out to carry water and chop wood.” Enlightenment is an inward spiritual reality of “content” and has nothing to do with external worldly “form.” 
I comprehend that I can look upon a terrible worldly tragedy, not with my physical eyes that see form, but with spiritual eyes of true vision. I can see tragedy and still be filled with love, peace, joy and serenity. But, I still attempt to apply spiritual content to the physical world of form. Whenever I do that it gets me into trouble. It can spin me into states of anxiety, depression, self-judgment, and virtually any negative emotional state other than serenity, love, joy and peace.
I can, generally, get out of a bluish funk by concentrating on gratitude. That has been somewhat working for me today. I am grateful that I’m in my home, warm and toasty.  I am grateful for our dog, Beau, who is fascinated with snow. He doesn’t like its coldness between his pads, but he’s fascinated nevertheless. I am grateful for the smell wafting from our kitchen. My wife is experimenting with a Midwestern sugar cream pie. She’s not very pleased with the result, but I thoroughly enjoy eating her ”mistakes.” I’ll relish that tonight. I am grateful for the opportunity to go to an AA meeting this weekend. Being surrounded by folks of all stripes, who accept me as I am, does more for my positive state of mind than anything I can imagine.
So, I’ll continue to sit in my study, and gaze out the windows at the swirling, fluffy flakes as they make their way to take up residence on our property.
And ….
I’ll let tomorrow’s snow shoveling take care of itself – tomorrow.
Now, I think I’ll go make a big bowl of popcorn and start a new novel.
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.

#3 Jan 2016

Copyright 2016

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