A Zen Garden Story
A Personal Story to Illustrate how to find a Zen Garden anywhere:
Once my job had become dismal and the general attitudes of co-workers desperate (some were literally in tears over the daily problems). The experience crescendo-ing into my nearly resigning at exactly 1:12 pm in the afternoon. My mind switched into a calmer mood, pushed over a boundary, thinking about leaving the job, doing the math of all the debts and responsibilities, accepting that tomorrow I would deal with each problem, one at a time, to rebuild a new life. While starting to write a resignation letter, something else filled my mind. In that moment, I happened to look out of the 11th floor window: everything was crisper, the buildings in the view appeared as if each were a stone. The buildings moonlighting as black mountains, outlining an empty space 3 city blocks in size. In that moment, a seagull drifted thru the empty space between the manmade stone-skyscrapers. The bird flew in curves, defined by invisible hills and valleys of wind and air. The bird knew this terrain, its flight thru, illuminated an entire empty space, showing me something as a man myself I could only feel in sharing with a seagull. In that moment, the entire space became a Zen Garden, illuminating the empty space of my own personal frustration with a job. The stones of skyscrapers, a pebble of a bird, the lines of flight, the simplicity of a vista… left me at one with the whole moment. I didn’t leave that job that day, as any other corporate job would have been the same, the zen garden of buildings illustrated to me the need for a different path all together. However, within that job I did find, within a most crazy situation, a time of reflection and peace in a personal Zen garden which had manifested itself.
Now this last paragraph reads as rambling run on sentence. Shift the experience. Change the angle by reading it out loud as a story. A simple shift in approach modifies everything. Similarly simple alterations in how we move in life can change the ordinary into a poetic experience. Such a shift can turn any empty space you are facing into a most profound Zen Garden that can in reflection also shift our life.
PS As you walk in life, always witness the reflection of your steps to gain a deeper connection to everything around you. You might be surprised at the hidden world, as a zen garden itself, you can discover from your own steps of living.
Look into the morning dew
finding a soul’s shape
reflected in your footsteps
Casey – 2004
This video made years later by someone else shows in part what in my mind I saw that day. As the birds flew, I saw the hills and valleys of the air itself. So when watching the video relax and witness the hidden terrain of the air that extends beyond the clouds.