Zen Garden Path

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.

8 Comments. Leave new


Welcome Jennifer :) to our small online Taoist Garden to explore.

After reading this post, I thought of a musical zen garden I experienced after my mother passed away and wanted to share.

I miss my mom….

I miss our conversations the most, we talked every day at least once. I miss the sound of her voice, very much.

Someone told me it takes a year and a day to work through grief. April 8, 2010 will mark one year.

My mom came to live with me in February 2009 after she was unable to live alone. We spent nine weeks together. The daily tasks of living become so difficult when you are battling a debilitating disease. We laughed, cried and tried to figure out and accept the dying process.

On April 4, 2009 her lung was no longer able to take in the requisite oxygen. We opted to go to the hospice house. She requested her last meal ~ baked fish, dressing, mixed vegetables, a roll with butter and of course coffee and cream.

Soon the morphine cocktail kicked in and took her to a comatose state. I held her hand constantly. She would squeeze my hand as I would talk with her or pray. After two days the squeezing stopped.

On April 7th around midnite, I went to lie down, but I couldn’t sleep. I felt an angel nudging me to stay by her side, holding her hand.

I watched as her breath became shallow. And then, no air was being drawn, resembling a fish out of water. That stopped at 1:20 am. Her heart continued to beat for another ten minutes. At 1:30 she was pronounced dead.

The hospice nurse turned on the radio. Some of my mom’s favorite hymns started to play ~ What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Rock of Ages, Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee, Amazing Grace and others. I was holding her hand, wondering how long does a person stay with someone that has died. I decided on a half hour. While I sat listening to the music; reflecting on what was happening, her life, my loss ~ the tears flowed.

At 2 am, the time I decided to leave, the radio switched over to big band music…. at that moment I knew she was in heaven ~ dancing with her father. I felt a peace wash over me.

I love my mom very much and I’m so thankful I was with her for her last breaths and in a way ~ I feel that I walked her to heaven and helped her cross over to a life eternal :-)

Trish: I am honored in the sharing.

Thanks so very much in the sharing of your zen garden moment within life itself!!!

Really great. It inspired me to make my own online zen garden (just my own personal online space). Really gives a feeling of hope, peace, and ispiration.

I read “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” when a teenager. A book that touched me.

I think birds are often times messengers. I think if I were an angel sent to earth to deliver a message, I’d choose to be a bird too.

GCH: allow yourself to glide, to fly as you connect to the rest of the world. The world is a zen garden for you now.

The way you express the passing of you mother’s spirit is beautiful and shows the love that you shared with her. It sounds as though you walked her to heaven’s door and with much love and compassion. Thank you

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