By Joseph Raffa
ONE morning, I sat quietly in our garden on the dry sandy earth. A fresh sea breeze stirred the leaves of the trees. Where I sat, with my back to a background of ivy leaves I was somewhat sheltered from the wind by an apple tree and a large rosemary bush. I dwelt in the quietness, in the peaceful presence of leafy greenness.
The wind, filtering through the backdrop of tree and shrubs, flowed around my body, gently playing tug-of-war with my hair. The fresh feel of the wind was part of the surrounding tranquility. I gazed around at each part of the garden in turn – just looked, asking no what or whys of the plants or the doves walking nearby, foraging for food.
So many questions asked of life, so many explanations offered. Life goes on unaffected by the questing mind. The green world is untroubled by questions nor does it seek answers. It is what it is, responding to the changing seasons, going through the cycle of seed, growth, fruiting, producing seed, then decay. All without complaint. Seemingly mute, it responds to sun, water and earth – acted upon by natural conditions and in turn leaving its mark on the environment.
The plant world goes its way without protest, without reaching out to be bigger or better by deliberate intent. Self consciousness is not the way of plants. This is the world of man and with it goes dissatisfaction, torment, the desire to expand, to be more – uncertainty and problems.
Would that we could not only be self conscious but also have the tranquility of a tree. To be calm whatever storms come one’s way would be a considerable asset. To take the buffeting then restore and repair the damage without inner loss would be commendable. This is the inner poise reflected by the sages, by those whose hearts are anchored in sublime stillness.
This is a strength of a different kind. Natural in its expression yet arising after years of selfless development. The weakness of ego expression has been eradicated to be replaced by spiritual strength, by what issues forth from the Eternal.
Physical strength, outstanding success on the field of sport, in various walks of life are not its immediate purpose. This may come to pass or may not. It is considered irrelevant. The sages are inwardly fixed on spiritual flowering, on indwelling in the universal. Ego is banished, not permitted to hold centre stage of the human expression.
They live a strange life. Outwardly similar, inwardly so different. Serenely still, they stay anchored beyond thought, though outwardly active in time. The tempests of time do not rage to disturb the inner equanimity. The incoming tide is muted by love and turned away. They have a rock-like stability untouched by the fracases of time. Timeless their refuge – where they dwell. They are the timeless ones, co-joined in a loving unity with the universal
Written by Joseph on December 10, 1995