Letting Go, Creating Space
Last Saturday a number of us from the condominium helped clear the communal area of overgrown bushes and trees. A tree surgeon cut down a fig tree and an apricot tree; pine trees were heartily trimmed as we worked together to fill a truck with the cuttings and generally tidy up.
Something special came out of those few hours of collaboration. Besides the evident aesthetic improvement and the camaraderie induced in working towards a shared goal, space was created for whatever may come next.
Thinking about the Zen tale of emptying the bowl to be ready to receive more, the room left by the trimmed branches in a sense stands as a reminder of the need for openness, a beginner’s mind as it is often referred to, if we desire to expand ourselves.
The overgrown trees perhaps parallel beliefs and associated emotions accumulated over the years, passed on to us from our parents or given as criticism by those in authority. They might no longer be relevant to our present, yet they fill our bowl and inhibit development. Their examination and eventual release would provide space for new ideas to be explored and possibly developed.
Just because a high school teacher mocked our artwork, for example, it does not mean we should not attend a class in creative drawing today if we so wish. The fun of participation might itself be reason enough to enroll and let’s not forget the teacher all those years ago was referring to our abilities of then, not of this moment in time.
“Make your mind as vast as the sky and you will find that the waves of afflictive emotions have lost all the strength you had attributed to them.”