Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tending the Garden in My Heart

I continue to feel moved to focus on the heart. Throughout each day, paying attention to the stirrings within, and noticing the constant changes. Most precious has been Ayya Khema's image of the inner garden with flowers and weeds. The flowers are the beautiful emotions in the love family - love, compassion, rejoicing, and equanimity. The weeds are the hindrances that keep arising and need constant attention - greed, ill will, anger, fear, worries . . . 

There is no shortage of reasons to visit the garden in my heart. Each time, feeling the love or its possibility, and right next to it, a small weed or a tall one. Some weeds are more easy to see than others. When I feel envy, it is not hard noticing the immediate unpleasantness. Wise mind knows better than to linger in such thoughts. Instead, better step back at once and name the weed. Envy, envy, I am going to cut you down right there, right now, so that I can see and feel the beautiful pink flower. Opening the heart is a habit that can be cultivated, like anything else. 

Other weeds are harder to see, as they have a way of blending with the blooms. Feeling love, it would be easy to overlook the tinge of attachment and fear that comes along. Yet, there is no mistaking the slight constriction in the throat, the tension in the chest. What I call love needs to be stripped from such weeds. 

This is an all consuming practice that leaves little interest for writing about the practice . . . 

How are you taking care of your heart?


  1. The more watching we do we see the weeds in our heart! Thank you Marguerite for this wonderful article.

  2. So many opportunities to tend the garden. A great reminder to cherish everything we encounter. I wonder if there is even a way to cherish the weeds as our teachers.

  3. You seem to seek comments from readers at the end of each blog, and hence I take the liberty to add this.
    Last 2 months I went through an ailment and was in severe pain, on occasions crawling on four to reach up the bed and involuntarily crying. It seemed to be the end. At times, I tried Ayya Khema's sweeping meditation instructions, some times from IPad, some times without. Pain most of the time won over me, and all that I could do was just to surrender. None of what I had previously done as practice completely prepared me enough for this pain and suffering, and this makes me humble. While on bed, to observe my mind trappings to avoid pain was terrifying.
    At this moment, with a change in medicine, I am recovering and I am free of physical pain.
    The contrast between previous pain and current no pain is drastic.
    While I was in pain, I was wishing deep from my heart that no being should suffer from pain and suffering.


  4. Dear Marguerite,

    I ain't taking very good care of myself today, it somehow or rather appears the purpose why I dropped by your blog. It pleases me to read your blog entries and enjoy the simplicity of your blog layout. Little has changed since I came by a couple of months ago.

    As a zen student, a teacher used to showed me how important it was to take care of oneself, and let the world take care of itself.

    I come here because where I am in Singapore, the weather is without the four seasons, there are only hot, hotter, and hottest. When you know Buddhism well enough, that's the sort of weather that the Buddha had to put up with in India back then.

    ^_^ Stressed, stressed-er, and stressed-est.

    I don't know how to take care of my heart maybe turning off the TV is sometimes the best place to start; I won't understand what is it about you that calms me down the moment I see your avatar maybe there are already too many maybes.

    May I take care of myself happily, and peacefully.
    May Marguerite take care of herself happily, and peacefully.
    May they all take care of themselves happily, and peacefully.
    May all earthlings take care of themselves happily, and peacefully.
    May I take care of myself happily, and peacefully.

    I love you and I mean it dear.. browser window yours in dharma.. I love you
    Jayan Tashi

  5. Apologies if this comment is unwelcome. This idea of taking a weedwacker to one's emotions seems to me to be contrary to the wisdom of MBSR, and potentially unhelpful in Dhamma practice. These weeds and flowers, as you describe them, grow from seeds. Once the weeds and flowers manifest, there they are. It's worth seeing them and understanding them. But to put so much effort into the idea of "cut you down right there, right now" seems to completely miss the point that the weeds and flowers are not the problem. The problem goes much deeper.

    I believe the MBSR approach would be to accept these emotions, not in the sense of approving of them, but in the sense of accepting that they are what they are and allowing them to be for now. They are not the only thing occurring in the mind/body. And I believe the Dhamma approach would be to observe their changing nature and understand, with equanimity, that they are impermanent.

    Again, apologies if this type of discussion is not invited.

    1. Since the blog mentions about Ajahn Chah, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Thanissaro Bhikkhu and the likes, how these monks preach, seriously, sometimes offer at best an opinion from their own direct meditative experience.

      I have got my own dhamma experiences, and bring in the analogy of weeds and flowers, the soil and the manure makes its way into an visitor that loves the earth with all its greenery.

      Try telling an African about weeds and flowers.

      I love my weeds and I love my flowers.. <3

      Anybody has any issue with what I love? Anybody other than myself free in tending a garden of my heart?

      Yours in dharma _/|\_