Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Planting Seeds

Any ordinary favor we do for someone or any compassionate reaching out may seem to be going nowhere at first, but may be planting a seed we can't see right now. Sometimes we need to just do the best we can and then trust in an unfolding we can't design or ordain.
Sharon Salzberg
O Magazine, The Power of Intention, January 2004

Anyone who gardens knows that nothing is instant. You plant seeds, water them then wait for sprouts to struggle from the ground, reaching for sunlight. The better prepared the soil the healthier the growth, but even in rocky earth some plants will emerge. With people it is the same.
When you plant a seed there it takes time to reach maturity. But things are happening whether you see results right away or not. Sometimes all you get for what you plant is one scraggly shoot, yet that is often enough to begin thought patterns that lead to the reworking of the soil.
Nobody willingly leaves their garden unattended, but life can be distracting enough to make a person forget to tend to their own inner health because they are tending to everyone else's. That has been a problem for me all my life. I am well aware of that weakness, which makes it possible for me to mute its power. But caring for others is so much a part of me that getting rid of it altogether is not realistic.
I try to spread my gardening more evenly nowadays. Sometimes I succeed and everyone benefits when I am well centered in a healthy place. And the seeds I share from my harvest are what I call dawners. I say words and things dawn on people. Slow growing of what I plant brings forth healthy shoots with strong roots deeply planted. I never pace over what is planted, no human garden is ever seen as fallow just because I do not see what is happening. I feel it instead and continue on planting without fretting about results. If Johnny Appleseed had stood fretting over his seeds until each trees was mature, how many trees would have gotten planted?