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Flowers & Garbage

“Bless those who curse you.”  

John is a good man. He works hard all day cleaning septic, and soak-aways not afraid of getting his hands dirty and smelling fecal waste. “It’s not an easy job,” he says. But it’s important for people. Many people don’t like to see the dirty parts of themselves: they don’t really love themselves wholly.

Doris is a good woman. She’s retired, works all day in her garden most days tending the flowers. Twice a week she volunteers to help the sick and dying in the local hospitals. Sometimes she has to clean their behinds because they don’t have the strength to take care of themselves anymore. Sometimes they are mean and nasty, because they are ashamed, but she loves them just the same. She can see the spirit shining in their eyes. She knows love is the ointment for their pains.

There’s an honest man who picks up garbage for a living, He says, “You should see the great stuff people throw out.” When they buy new things he smiles, knowing it will be in his truck someday and he might get a chance to use it.

Joan is a hard working woman in an office. Her brain is great with figures. She knows how to tidy up messy numbers. She makes everybody look clean on paper. On weekends she goes to talk to people about God. Sometimes she says, “They curse and spit at me, but it’s just their garbage showing.”

“A gardener who is aware of the reality of interbeing will not throw away her garbage. Looking at a heap of garbage, she can already see cucumbers, lettuce, and flowers in it. She will use it to make compost for her garden. The interdependent nature of the flower means that a flower is made of non-flower elements, such as garbage. The flower is on its way to becoming garbage, and the garbage is also on its way to becoming a flower. When we take hold of our afflictions and use them as compost, the flowers of joy, peace, liberation, and happiness will grow. We must accept what is here and now, including our suffering and our confusion. Accepting our suffering is the beginning of peace and joy.

We accept what is in the present moment in order to have a deep perspective and the capacity to transform our circumstances. Flowers and garbage both exist in the present, here and now. The conditions for good also exist here and now, in the present. Good cannot be found by running away from bad. Looking deeply into the nature of bad, you touch God.” Excerpt From- Thich Nhat Hanh, Understanding Our Mind, p.208

Excerpt from “Secrets To Life Book” by Chris Emmanuel
Book available at Chris Emmanuel Art Gallery (Sunbreeze Hotel) and Pages Book Store

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