The fertilizer of our lives; Who ordered this truckload of dung?

Two neighbours both moved into gorgeous country houses adjacent to a popular walk and bridleway.  It was a lovely environment. Open feilds, a sea view, pretty trees and cute wildlife. After a few days they began to notice that walking horses would foul the pathway outside their respective homes.

Over time, one of the neighbours found it hard to make friends and people often avoided him.  Whereas the other neighbour was popular and had no problem making friends.

Furthermore, the already popular neighbour began to grow his garden and soon his garden was producing lots of beautiful produce.  So much that he left it in crates on the path for the local walkers to help themselves.

The unpopular neighbour began asking people what he was doing wrong, but they would cut short the conversations, often curling their noses while walking away.

What was he doing wrong?


The answer: He was collecting the dung from the path and putting it into his pocket. He had no idea what to do with it and would often carry it for too long. Furthermore, in his attempt to avoid the dung, he would complain to people passing, cautioning them and sometimes even accusing them of fouling the pathway.

The other, wiser neighbour, was simply using the dung to fertilise his garden.


What do we carrying around that makes us stink?  Do you carry your complaints? Your grumbles? Your injustices? Do they make you unpleasant to be around?

Wouldn’t it be wiser to use the events of our lives to fertilize the garden of our being?

We can transform the bad in our lives and even grow from it. 


Credit for this story goes to Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Brahm (who ordered this truckload of dung) and Chogyam Trungpa (The manure of life and the field of Bodhi).


Peace and love

 

 

 

 

 

How to nurture a life of simpler happiness

Modern life looks complicated with many ties, but it needn’t be. This simple short story illustrates how a small problem can develop and overwhelm us.

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When I was in my thirties I lived for a year in a simple room in the country with few possessions and commitments. I enjoyed my simple life of walking, meditating, writing and peace. I had few possessions, just my clothes, some money to last the year and a few articles for writing.  

All was well, until one day I woke and noticed a hole in my only pair of trousers. Some investigation led me to believe that the hole was caused by a mouse nibbling through the material. To protect my trousers, I decided to get a cat to keep the mouse away.

However, the cat soon got hungry and needed feeding. Initially I just bought her some milk but I grew tired of walking to the shops, so I formed another plan; I should get a cow! Yes, a cow to provide the milk to feed the cat to keep the mouse away.

This idea though, provided complications.  The cat was more easily fed but the cow was more tricky. So out I went  to buy some cattle feed. Once again, this involved a walk to the shops and again, I soon grew tired or this chore. I needed a new plan. So I decided to buy a small field next to my house. The cow could then graze and I would have the milk to feed my cat to keep the mouse away.

However, the grass began to grow too long too fast and the field needed maintaining. Hmmm, I thought, I need a small tractor. If I had a tractor I could then cut the grass, so my cow could graze and I would have the milk to feed my cat to keep the mouse away.

Soon though, this plan proved problematic too, the tractor needed fuel.  The solution I chose was to sell some milk and some hay to buy the fuel.  The fuel for the tractor, so I could cut the grass, my cow could graze and I would have the milk to feed my cat to keep the mouse away.

My days by this time quite full, I was milking, mowing, selling the surplus, my trousers were without holes but I had little time for the simple life that I had enjoyed. If only I just bought a needle and thread and lived peacefully alongside the mouse.

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We make our lives so complicated by taking on more and more things that need care and attention in the false belief that they will bring us happiness. What we end up doing though, is becoming slaves to their maintenance or procurement. We just add another problem on top of other problems. The happiness is then ‘just around the corner’ but the corner never comes.

Choosing a simple life that does not add extra unnecessary responsibility seems far wiser. Cutting down on the things in our lives is one way to achieve this goal.

Enjoy!