Pulling Weeds Along the Path
by Joe Cachey
Like many, I garden and find a sense of peace as I tend to the task at hand, be it hoeing, planting, watering or weeding. But frequently, my peace is conditioned on the circumstances of my garden. Are the flowers blooming – how wonderful! Are the bushes a bright green – just as it should be! Are the transplants making the transition to permanency – awesome! Everything is just as it should be and . . . so are the weeds.
After some time on the cushion, I came to realize that while a colorful garden is an absolute pleasure, it’s the weeds that teach the reality of life. Weeds are now my gurus!
I have learned that the dharmac path is like weeding. In any garden, from Des Moines to Versailles, there will always be weeds, just as in life there will be desires, expectations and disappointments no matter how much we cultivate mindfulness and awareness. If I’m steady and consistent in my gardening, then I keep the weeds at bay. So too, if my practice falters, then the weeds of my mind return. I can become overrun with desire, anxiety and discomfort.
My practice has allowed me to experience the truth – there will always be weeds in life and one needs to weed everyday. By accepting this truth, I protect myself from the suffering caused by the illusion that one day there will be no weeds, that there will be a day when desire will not cause suffering.
When I accept the impermanence of the “perfect” garden, the fallacy of it being “my” garden and my ignorance of the true nature of weeds, I experience the universal truth. I escape the suffering of hoping that tomorrow there will be no weeding.
So now, as I approach the garden and the tasks at hand, I ask myself: What are the weeds in this life? I am not unique. The weeds that arise in my garden are just like my neighbor’s and yours.
As I return to my cushion each day, I understand that thoughts, emotions and discomfort will spring up in unpredictable ways. I remember what my gurus have taught me. If I weed everyday, I can settle in and enjoy my practice. Ultimately, I leave ignorance and suffering behind and step into contentment, for I am doing just as I should . . . being in a garden.
Connect with your true self. Attend a Kundalini yoga class (the yoga of self-awareness) every Tuesday at 7am starting May 5th. Learn more about Joe and his yoga at www.yogijoe.com