Dharma Glimpse by Philip
I went to garden practice here at Bright Earth one Saturday recently. I love going as it feels like starting the weekend in a positive way; fresh air, nature, noticing inner and outer worlds much more, doing an activity with Sangha members, feeling calmer, more observant and more grateful…..
I remember one respected Sangha friend had told me a while ago now about waiting for both feet to be on the ground whilst doing the walking practice. I always bore it in mind, but didn’t feel ready to try it. Instead, I had practiced balancing on one leg at times during garden practice to strengthen my legs and core from my days doing Pilates as a bit of sneaky exercise. But today I felt like trying this new approach for me, partly as I have been feeling a bit unsettled in recent months.
Perhaps inevitably, I felt more grounded and stable. And gradually felt I had a clearer mind for making/taking my next step. But it also felt slightly strange and unsettling. I wondered afterwards if balancing on leg reflected, to some degree, my approach to (adult) life. About making things more challenging than they necessarily need to be in order to strengthen myself physically and mentally to be independent. And I feel there is some merit in this. But I wondered if this new way of walking during garden practice had provided a new and valuable experience, teaching me something in the process. Perhaps that it takes clear intention and courage to put one foot in front of the other and take a step forwards. Whether that’s a seemingly ‘big’ decision like a place to live, a relationship or a job. Or a seemingly ‘small’ decision to get out of bed in the morning and face the day. Or an intention to put a foot forwards with an open mind and heart to see what happens, instead of gritting my teeth and steadfastly staying where I am. And that whilst it might be me, or seem like it is me, planting that front foot forwards and transferring my weight on to it, I’m not doing this on my own; I have Amida Buddha with me at all times. Maybe it felt like Amida was my back foot, providing that surety and stability. But then that back foot becomes my front foot so that the distinction between what is me and what is Amida becomes irrelevant and indistinguishable when I get into a flow of walking like this. And it felt nice to think, and hopefully start to know and feel, I’m never truly on my own as I journey through life.
Namo Amida Bu