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“You want a meditation practice?” my friend asked me when he heard I was writing a book about meditation, “I’ll tell you what is the best meditation.” And he told me all about his treasured Bonzai hobby. We went out back to see the miniaturized plants and trees lined up on specially made shelves on the side of the house where the light was just right, and where it was not too hot and not too cold. He explained that the art of Bonzai required patience, and that it was something that you did today, the benefits of which would be reaped in some tomorrow.
“30 years from now I don’t expect to be here, but these plants will. They could literally be here from my great grandchildren. It’s a long term commitment.” He described how you have to start slow, and pay a lot of attention, every day, and how you have to build a relationship with the plants, the way plants, and group and balance that with your own eye for shape and contour. He showed us a limb on a tree that had been broken when his son took it to school for show and tell, and the place where he literally put a band aid on because it was all that he had at the time, and how part of that band aid was still there and how the limb had been saved 8 years ago.
He explained that you have to look at every plant, every branch. He told me that when he goes on vacation he hires someone whose only job is to watch over the Bonzai daily.
I could tell when he talked about his time spent with his plants that it took him to some deeply satisfied and peaceful frame of mind. I left thinking about the regular routine, every day, same time, same careful attention, and more importantly, about this: the work you do now, may not be for you alone. It may benefit people who are yet to come. The work you do today may produce results right away that you can see and enjoy, and it may also be building a foundation for others to stand on when you are long gone.
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