Sarah Elizabeth and I shyly refer to being on the path of enlightenment. We don’t want to be presumptuous about it. From all I’ve seen and experienced, enlightenment is ultimately the result of grace, not action. Certainly there are action steps to take, ways to surrender to being, that help the process. But in the end, it is all grace.
Today I discovered a truth that, at least momentarily, knocked away any false humility I might have about being in the process of awakening.
For weeks I’ve contemplated removing a hedge in our backyard. It’s an ugly hedge meant to hide a brick wall and help carry the eye’s attention to the bank above the brick wall. There used to be butterfly bushes and thorny bushes on that bank. I got rid of those years ago and, with the help of my son and a dear friend, built the large containers there that I use for vegetable and flower gardening.
Where the hedges lie might be a great place for blueberry bushes. But the main thing is they are ugly. They are thorny and, because their roots have run out of room to grow, their trunks and the lower part of their limbs are “leggy” (as Sarah Elizabeth describes them) so that approximately two-thirds of the bushes are trunk and limbs with the upper third covered in green leaves. Not much to look at but I won’t know until I remove them if exposing the brick wall and putting blueberry bushes in will work.
In conversation with Sarah Elizabeth I’ve learned that she’s in agreement to see the hedges go. Seems like a simple decision making process, doesn’t it? A husband gets an idea about making a change to the back yard, consults his wife to make sure the decision won’t be an affront to her and to get her feed back, that’s how a lot of decisions are made in a number of households every day.
What got my attention today is realizing just how long I’ve been contemplating and ruminating over this decision and the number of times I’ve engaged my wife in conversation about it. You see, if removing the hedges turns out to be a mistake, I don’t want to share the blame alone. If it turns out to be a mistake, I can at least share the blame with her because she agreed.
Oh, the humility of coming face to face with the person this mind-body organism is! There is no way around it. We are who we are and, if a spiritual path is worth it’s salt, we come face-to-face with who we are over and over again on that path.
I don’t know if I’m any closer to enlightenment as a result of this realization. But the fear of failing will once again be faced, the hedges will be removed, and I’ll just have to wait and see if removing them was a mistake. Being with the discomfort of facing the fear of failure will bring expansion that I will recognize as being part of my path to awakening. And the blueberries will taste sweet next spring.