Once upon a time I would go to the garden and I would play. I would take my camera and with it, enter a magical space – beginner’s mind – don’t know mind – Only. Don’t know mind is not “of the mind” per se, but resides in the heart…..at least it seems to….in mine.
Once upon a time, I spoke and read, I studied and practiced the art of curiosity and the science of stillness. Waking thoughts were often centered upon something I’d read, something Zen Master Dogen said: I look up and I see the sky and I realize I am nothing. I look down and see the earth and realize I am everything,” or maybe its the other way around. But still the mind boggling constructions kept my mind busy so my heart could work.
My heart worked at being kind. It worked at being vulnerable. It worked at being confident, it worked at being open and open to wonder, to delight, to unexpected beauty or sudden surprize. My heart worked at looking inwards and outwards in new ways, looking at old places and old stories my mind was want to tell. My heart grew soft and happy. And each time I would sit with the camera in a garden with flowers waving in the wind and light entertaining and entrancing me, the images that came felt special. Sacred.
And then the malignance came and then I forgot. I forgot all about softness and soft hearts and playing with light and color with a mind that had no cares or worries and a body that was that of a child. I forgot the peace and spaciousness that dwells “within” a still and clear mind. I forgot about the joy that sometimes arises after a spell of deep visual concentration upon some glorious dance of colors and light a/ak/a “flowers,” and I forgot about the power of curiosity, patience, and playfulness to re-awaken a tight and well armoured and frightened heart.
And now, I remember. Now I remember that I need to be soft. That I need to feel connected to the earth and all living critters and to all that grows and all that is rooted and all that is buried within the earth. I awoke and I remembered how I used to be with a camera in a garden. How I used to wait and gaze and be open and anticipatory that some gift would be offered. And now I am working and recalling what it is to be everything and nothing in the twinkling of an eye and practicing being a child again, and once again allowing words like “curiosity” “gratitude,” playfulness,” and joy to fill my thoughts and soften my heart.