Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The Rushes:“ The prettiest are always further!”
As Alice rows along in the boat with the knitting Sheep, she notices scented rushes growing in the water. In her frenzy to pick them, she continually notices that “The prettiest are always further!” She continues to try to chase down the nicest ones, but they seem constantly out of reach. In the meantime, the lovely rushes she has been able to pick quickly fade and lose their lovely scent, disintegrating into nothing: “Even real scented rushes, you know, last only a very little while—and these, being dream rushes, melted away almost like snow, as they lay in heaps at her feet—but Alice hardly noticed this, there were so many other curious things to think about.”
It is easy, when our interest is piqued, to get caught up in a quest for more and more, or better and better of whatever it is we think we need. There is a sort of feeding frenzy-type energy that can enter us like a possessed person, and we find ourselves hopelessly searching just beyond our reach for that perfect whatever-it-is. Rushes, shoes, knick-knacks, relationships . . . always something better than what we have, and in the meantime, what we do actually have in front of us, fades and loses its charms.
The world, especially Wonderland, is full of amazing things, and it is easy to get caught in that trap of continually searching for something more exciting and being distracted by the varieties that exist out there for every sort of thing we could imagine. But if we are constantly looking for something, how can we be enjoying what we actually have? It seems as though we are in a silly tail chase. You’ve seen them. Those mindless dogs running around in circles trying to grab hold of their tails and around and around they go until they collapse in a tired hairy heap.
It is hard to get any enjoyment out of what we have in front of us if we don’t stop and allow our attention to be present with it. There is also a constant state of dissatisfaction that goes along with ignoring what we have, and searching for something better. Our shoes won’t take it personally (though they will go without the pleasure of being enjoyed) but if it is happening in our relationships, then this can cause a great deal of fading. Our relationships (social and otherwise) rely on us for reflections of truth and when we can’t be bothered to share our attention, caught up in the race for something better, we send a signal of “not worthy,” “not good enough,” and eventually it can stick. Only because it is accepted as truth, not because the actual value has been lost, mind you.
There are so many beautiful things right in front of us if we can just allow our busy-bodies and minds to just slow down for a moment to enjoy them. Or, maybe you are on the receiving end of someone who is constantly looking for something better. Don’t let it get you down. That is a mind game that has no foundation in truth. That idea of the grass always being greener, that comes from a place inside that believes in “never good enough.” And it gets projected onto the self and others and it makes for a maddening game that is never finished and no one wins. Throw that mind-frame overboard with the faded rushes.
It’s time to sit down and take inventory on what you have and see the value it holds for you. Maybe it is you yourself that needs to be valued. Whatever your query is, take a moment to re-evaluate it. Stop and smell the rushes you already have in your boat.
Meditation: Sitting comfortably, eyes closed and allowing the breath to slow down, allow yourself to think of what you have. A comfortable place to rest? Good food to eat? Clothes in your closet? Places to sit in peace? Books to enjoy? Friends? Parks? Libraries? Trees and other plants? Birds and other living creatures? Beautiful sunrises and sunsets? A beautiful day here and there? Music? A hot bath? Mountains? Lakes? Light? Air? Shelter from harsh weather? There are so many things that keep life going and make it sweet, and they are easy to forget about, but life is so much sweeter if we take the time to remember. Something you can add to this meditation is a gratitude practice. See how many things you can find to give thanks for. I have found that the more time I spend giving thanks, the more I find there is to be thankful for, and the less there is to be dissatisfied with. Give yourself this gift and see how much treasure you uncover with your awareness.