Friday, May 18, 2012

I have been an avid reader for my entire life. I find that words and the worlds they create are truly beautiful. Magical. The world could come crashing down around me, but if my book was riveting enough I would remain blissfully unaware. A truly talented author can take words that are inconsequential all by themselves and string and weave them together is such a way that sadness, tenderness, compassion and even rage are brought to the surface and felt for characters that exist only in the imagination. See, magic.

For most of my almost forty years I have been a strict, unbending reader of fictional works only. I wanted to immerse myself and get completely lost in a book. I thought that the real world was already filled with sadness, so give me a good happy ending any day. Too many times I followed Oprah's book suggestions and was left with despair that lingered for days. No thanks.  Happy endings were definitely the only way to go.

And then my life kind of crumbled around me. If you are unfamiliar with my story you can read about it here. My descent into panic had me desperate for freedom, joy or most importantly, peace. So, once again I turned to books, but with a different purpose in mind. I wanted guidance, hope, advice. I wanted words of wisdom. I wanted answers. And then I picked up one of the first non fictional books of my life (A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle) and it quite radically, quite wonderfully, changed the entire course of my journey.

Since then I have an appetite for spiritual non fiction that is almost as strong as my need for food, water or sleep. I find that they are one of my most powerful guides, and I can never get quite enough from these sage and wise human beings. I often find writers that speak to me particularly clearly. Right now my author of choice is Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. As soon as I pick up one of his books I am instantly soothed. I feel as though I'm being rocked, or cradled in the arms of total compassion and kindness.

As soon as I finish one I'm back on Amazon ordering another. It isn't enough to just read them, I must own them too. They must exist in my library for constant reference and reassurance. Anytime my spirit needs a peaceful tonic I can find it within the pages of any one of his books. He has the most gentle soul I have ever come across, it resonates through every word he writes.

Thich talks a lot about seeds, and as a gardener I particularly appreciated this metaphor. Seeds planted in us by our parents,our ancestors, or our past (this reminds me of the collective consciousness that Tolle talks about). Seeds that can be both positive or negative in nature. Seeds of love, compassion, jealousy, hatred, joy, intolerance or greed. For much of the time many of these seeds lie dormant in us, sleeping quietly. Until the day they are watered. If these are positive seeds, how wonderful. For example, if someone were to write you a love letter, expounding all of the million and one ways that their life is better because you are in it, seeds of love or gratitude or joy my be fed and watered in you. Smiles all around. :)

On the other hand, let's suppose that you are particularly sensitive about your weight. Let's further suppose that your husband is well aware of this and has had a bad day at work. He decides that perhaps a couple of of small jokes or digs at your expense will help to relieve his bad mood. At the very least you can be miserable together. Those cutting remarks? Well, he just watered some seeds. Seeds of anger, or self pity, or hurt. Ouch, still smiling?

I've been practicing this daily and become very aware of the seeds that I water in others. I've also been super diligent about making sure that Scott and the girls are also aware of the effect that their words have. Because once you water that seed it grows, and has the power to spread. So now instead of one seed of anger, you've got ten. They will rest there, quietly sleeping, until the right conditions bring them to the surface. I've found that whether you 12 or 40 you always recognize the type of seeds that you're bringing to life, it's just a matter of choosing kindness. Sometimes that's not so easy.

I find that when you water the positive seeds in others the energy changes, moods lighten and brighten. You love more and bicker less. When you feed negative seeds in others don't fool yourself into believing that it won't impact you. That seed of pain that you just watered is now energy you've helped to release. It often results in retaliation from those you've just hurt, which in turn will water negative seeds in you. It most definitely has the ability to affect you as we are all connected. What hurts you will hurt me, even if its effects aren't immediately visible.

But don't despair, there are also ways to 'compost' those negative seeds and transform them into things of beauty. I'll leave that for a future post though, it's something I'm still working on, with amazing results. :)

Pretty much it all comes back to kindness. The number one rule in my home ~ Be Kind. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all? I know I cringed upon hearing that as a kid, but now I support that  wholeheartedly. Choose your words carefully, mindfully, thoughtfully. Be loving. Embark on this path and it isn't long before you see the wonderfully positive effects that watering the 'right' seeds will have on your life. And who says you don't have a green thumb? ;)

Thank you Thich.

Have a lovely day Friends. :)

Peace & Blessings ~ Melinda