Every couple of years the walnut trees in the backyard bear fruit and an endless supply of walnuts litter the lawn. Red squirrels do their best to shell and bury a few, but hundreds remain. In order to cut the grass, I find it helpful to rake them up and bag them. A challenging and time-consuming task.
Lately I have notice, from a Zen perspective, how much this resembles life. I go out, rake up an area, and by the next day the area is again littered with fallen walnuts. This can go on for as long as it takes for the branches to clear. I find that somedays I’m annoyed and other days I find it charming to be outside and raking up the heavy nuts. Notice that the task is never different, only how I want to experience the task. I experience all kinds of emotional structures over the week or so it takes to clear the ground. Until one day I realized that part of the problem was separate self’s opinion and story about doing the same thing over and over. And, in paying attention, I see that it’s different every time I go out. Saying it’s this endless boring task automatically makes it challenging and opens the door to suffering. Realizing that it’s always going to be different and interesting makes each time different, and I dare say, interesting. So, it’s not only the focus of my attention that changes my experience, but also how the stream of thought portrays experience as repetitious or embraces that the flow of experience only goes one way and never loops.
Who knows? Perhaps someday I’ll enjoy raking up walnuts, but for now I’m good with realizing that no matter what thoughts arise, all things are constantly brand new and therefore have the possibility of being experienced with curiosity and wonder.
Have a great weekend,