Whatever we think, say or do leaves a trace in our being. Over time these turn into habits, paths, patterns: our life experience.
What’s difficult for us might be very easy for someone else (and the other way around). What was difficult for us years ago might be easy right now. And sometimes it never gets easy and it feels like we are not meant to reach something we very much crave. On the other hand there are stories we hear in which someone did not give up striving to reach their goal, no matter how many obstacles they faced. How can we make sense of such experiences?
Having been a musician in my first career I know that if I train in the right way I can reach something I could never have imagined some years before. Having been in the fortunate situation of finding the right support and teachers, I learned the skills I needed in order to train diligently every day for many years. I learned to envision my goal, I learned to not give up and to train daily, though many times it was simply painful. I also found a joy in getting better and better and courage in performing in front of others. With every little success I again gained more energy and strength to follow on and train for the next tiny step. It felt like I had good seeds for this.
On the other hand in learning languages, for example, I was just not able to find the necessary precision and endurance to get better in a consistent way. I learned as I went, but only what was necessary, not more. I just could not find the passion, the strength, and also the support to get much better. The seed of wanting to learn different languages (and many other seeds as well) did not fall into very fertile soil inside me and I did not work harder, despite these less fortunate conditions, to get very far beyond where I found myself initially. Perhaps it wasn’t so important for me, after all.
There are many possible explanations for these different experiences. I could now write about gifted children, fortunate families, genes, quality of education, character, karma, fate and more. But what I’d like to focus on here is our experience of having, finding, and ripening seeds. And also of hitting walls in trying to do so. And most important, of recognizing some seeds as especially important. This is not always easy. For example, even if we have great insights, we might think that they are just weird ideas or intentions that anyway will not work out. On the other hand we can feel into them and notice some precious seeds inside there that really want to be developed in our lives. We can have all kinds of intentions and only a few of them really grab us and carry enough energy to get us moving.
These moments when we notice that a certain insight, an intention, or idea really has a very powerful, beneficial potential can be life changing. For example, the wish to “benefit all beings.” This wish can be very strong, very idealistic, also very romantic; and this goal can also feel far away. But if we sense a kind of potent power in there, an energy that potentially can fuel whatever we do, then we can keep this wish in mind and hold it there as one of our basic motivations. It can gestate right there within us, it can be nourished day by day, and it also can nourish us. We may have many different seeds appear to us; this is one to really care for.
This wish holds the potential to enhance every activity as it guides us from within its specific perspective. This perspective can be both totally broad and totally particular, and it can open our hearts to discover what could be our best possible response in any particular situation. Also it can help us notice when we are totally not up to responding from that place. There are times when we just only want what we want now. And there are other times when we have more space to open from within this new-found beneficial wish. Whatever we find is good and accepting that, something starts growing right there within that awareness.
A perspective we appreciate very much can change how we think, what we spend our time on, our finances, our priorities, who we like to be with and much more. This brings new choices, but there is also what is possible and what is not. We will always have a little of the flavor of learning music vs. learning languages (for me), some things coming easy, some not.
We might find it easy to be friendly towards everyone we meet but we might not necessarily like to serve them. We might find a nice warmth in our heart being friendly and also a painful inner irritation when we meet people we just don’t like. These are important moments where we learn how we presently are and maybe where we would like to be. They are points of contact between our inner motivation and outer reality in which we can choose to grow or just lay fallow for a while. If the wish is to benefit all beings, then we can understand that we are connected to it for the long haul and we don’t have to worry if our playing isn’t so expert just yet.
If we choose to grow further in any moment, if we are able to grow further, then we will continue to encounter an expanded vision of how we would like to be in the world, and right there is our next seed. What do we do with that one? Do we discard it or do we take it as our guide to know what to hold in mind next, what to offer fertile soil for within us. In this way our life can transform into a kind of inner garden in which we grow what we can and want to grow there. In some way this is happening all the time anyway, but usually in a kind of unconscious way. Instead we can observe seeds appearing as choices; planting them, we can watch them grow. And in this way we consciously grow the garden of beautiful offerings we wish to be.
Have a wonderful week moving towards Spring,