A Zen Garden Allegory

Matthew walks across the Zen garden of Kodaiji temple in Kyoto.
He slowly moves forward along the dense thickets. Large rocks have put on a wet coat of moss and offer glittery reflections to his contemplation.
He then lets his heart undulate over the gentle waves that a delicate and disciplined rake has pulsed on tiny gravels.

Once he reaches the end of the common path visitors are following, he starts peering closely any possibility to leave this landscape, scanning his direct environment for a regular escape…
He can’t find any and therefore retraces his steps.

For a few seconds, his eyes are struck with confusion. The path he’s walking back on, though he has thoroughly and carefully walked it, appears unknown to his eyes.

This is not the result of some kind of mind game or even a spiritual practice leading him to try to consider the world with a virgin eye, free from representation.
What he sees, he never saw.
His perspective has pivoted and though his steps follow the exact same line, everything springs to mindfulness in an unbelievable freshness.


Thus, a 40-year-old man tries to continue his life in the same directions as those which led his to this transitional age.
These things of life and their underlying movements will quickly reveal how the efforts to extend his ways are a sure path to suffering.

One way or another, through this body, he will have to renounce.
Any additional tenacity will eventually present its cluster of suffering.
Such a man will retrace his steps and approach this second half of life with a background of sadness, a persistent bitterness.

May this man look at this path the same way he walks back along the Zen garden in Kodaiji and finds the entry gate.
May his heart relieve enough of its burden to offer amazement.
May his eyes open to the ever newness of authenticity.


©FJ August 2021 – All Rights Reserved
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