Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Beauty of Spring

"When you do, you will see that your "first love" may not really be the first..."  Thich Nhat Hanh, Cultivating the Mind of Love
Last night I returned home and heard something really wonderful. There were frogs singing in the night. Frogs, it seems, are one of the great harbingers of spring. They slumber over the winter, buried deep into the mud, protected by a sort of anti-freeze in their blood. When the very first warming of the spring temperatures commence to rain, they emerge from hibernation, as if magically, and serenade the night. Everywhere in the countryside one is treated to their song.
The frogs are singing! Their songs recollect the fine spring and summer evenings spent outdoors in the fresh breeze, the smell of grass, the wet of the dew and the arrival of song birds, creatures of all types. The Robin, a North American species of Thrush, arrived here a more than a month ago; the Cardinal which overwinters here, began its song in earnest weeks ago and now the Woodpeckers join in the busy merriment of spring song. The long winter is done over into the beauty of spring.

The Beauty of Spring is the title of a chapter in a book by Buddhist teacher and monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, Cultivating the Mind of Love. In a very personal and beautiful recollection he writes of first love, his own love, one which the French call the "coup de foudre" or the stroke of love, love at first sight.
This wise monk writes quite simply, "please think about your own first love. Do it slowly, picturing how it first came about, where it took place, and what brought you to that moment. Recall that experience and look at it calmly, deeply, with compassion and understanding. You will discover many things you did not notice at the time. There is a Kung An in the Zen tradition, 'What was your face before your parents were born?' This is an invitation to go on a journey and discover your true self, your true face.
Look deeply into your "first love" and try to see its true face. When you do, you will see that your "first love" may not really be the first, that your face when you were born may not have been your original face. If you [continue] look[ing] deeply, you will be able to see your true, original face, and your true first love. Your first love is still present, always here, continuing to shape your life. This is a subject for meditation."

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