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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Off to the Farm

We live in interesting times.  One of the pleasures of coming to States on vacation is the chance to read the morning newspaper over a cup of coffee. However, the headlines being what they are, this is more a source of stress than anything else.

Only response I can think of is to put down the newspaper, turn off the computer, and hit the road.  We are headed for the farm, a place of peace in the midst of so much turmoil. Nothing, in my view, calms the spirit more than good hard physical labor and pulling weeds out of rich deep soil with your bare hands. 

Zen Mind, Beginner's MindIn Shunryu's Suzuki's book, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, he says,
"To think 'Because it is impossible we will do it,' is not Buddhism. Even though it is impossible, we have to do it because our true nature wants us to. But, actually, whether or not it is possible is not the point. If it is our inmost desire to get rid of our self-centered ideas, we have to do it. When we make this effort, our inmost desire is appeased and Nirvana is there. Before you determine to do it, you have difficulty, but once you start to do it, you have none. Your effort appeases your inmost desire. There is no other way to attain calmness. Calmness of mind does not mean you should stop your activity. Real calmness should be found in activity itself. We say, 'It is easy to have calmness in inactivity, it is hard to have calmness in activity, but calmness in activity is true calmness."

 Not sure we will be able to attain this state but if, at the end of the day, we've managed to reorient our priorities, remember what is truly important (family, friends, meaningful work), and get the vines trimmed and the barn sided and the rosebeds weeded, then we will have accomplished a great deal.

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