“Outside of the tree there is no fragrance” – Zen saying.
I ponder that when a tree is unified with all its parts – roots, trunk, branches – it emits a delightful fragrance. Similarly, when I am unified in mind, heart and body, I emit something sweet. For me, this fragrance is a stillness that is nurtured through regular meditation and has positive effects on my being. When I meditate, my back is straight and my breathing rhythmic, my mind is focused and quiet and I feel peace and gratitude.
The Buddha guided others to ‘see all things as One’ as part of the Holy Mystery. This makes sense because we experience unnecessary suffering when we feel separated from our world. When there is a lack of unity, we don’t see the need of doing things together and our wilfulness isolates us even further. Our mind, heart and body are in disarray and we no longer emit a sweet fragrance. We become sick of ourselves and perhaps others become sick of us too. But, there is hope because we are always invited to stop, smile, and return to Oneness. We and nature are not so unlike; we both have a plan and a dream to reach our potential. It is a delight when the cherry blossom tree bears fruit and nudges us to connect with it. And it is wonderful when we express our talents and inspire others to do the same. We are invited to become intimately connected with each other.
Of course, the stillness in meditation ought to become a regular experience in everyday life. It is good to listen to our friends without thinking about what to say next. It is good to be an instrument of calm in the face of the many stresses at work. It is good to go to bed at night with little stimulation. Just like an artist works on their art – adding colour, attending to finer detail, applying the final glaze – so must we work on ourselves. A meditative person knows how to pace themselves, thus maintaining their energy and direction. They are able to immerse themselves in life, whether in the groove playing music, in the zone playing sport, in the flow writing articles or doing the dance when cooking. When I do the Zen thing by absorbing my mind, heart and body in the Oneness of life, I delight in myself and perhaps others delight in me too.