Chattering Mind

I live near a Botanical Garden that contains beautifully landscaped acres of Shakespearean herbs, a rolling creek, a lily pond, and a Japanese meditation area with a small temple. Turtles, koi, and ducks swim in the pond. If I still jogged, I could jog to these gardens in four minutes. At a walking pace, it might take twelve minutes to get through the main gate.

Last night, I took the Chattering kids and two friends to these gardens for the monthly “Summer Picnic Night,” and as the children peacefully hunted for baby rabbits in the Cherry Tree Arcade near dusk (apparently, a lot of New Yorkers have turned unwanted pet bunnies loose in there, and they’ve multiplied!), I sat on a bench, breathing and thinking: “It’s so beautiful here, the air is clear, and I’m so close to home. Why don’t I get to this place more?”

A couple of years ago, Jacob Needleman, author of “Time and the Soul: Where Has All the Meaningful Time Gone–and Can We Get It Back?” told me his next book was going to be about why people usually don’t do the things they know are best for them. Hmmm. Great idea.

Why do we too frequently see life as a hassle to endure, when it’s usually only a short walk to serenity and bliss? The thing we most deeply desire is always near. Nearer than my gardens, even. Inside each of us, in fact.

“You may feel ‘out’ of the great flow, but it always flows right through the middle of your life, and through you, too. You may feel far from ‘it,’ but rest assured that it is never apart from you,” says Lama Surya Das in this column for Beliefnet.

Is there something near you that you aren’t taking full advantage of, or true pleasure in? Think about it.

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