This is an older post for AGB magazine, but the intention rings truer now more than ever.
A barista’s mastery over a cappuccino is one kind of service to society. The care of a seeing-eye dog is another. Do you need to have something special, like an extraordinary talent, in order to help others and the world around you? Or can you offer something even if you don’t have anything at all?
Artwork by Marina Marcolin
A Buddhist monk said, "Life at each moment encompasses both you and the environment of all sentient beings in every condition of life as well as insentient beings--plants, sky and earth, on down to the most minute particles of dust.” The intention behind our actions is like a flower blossoming in the sun- attracting the bumblebee that savors its goodness and returns the favor by pollinating it. The flower asks, “How may I help you?” to the bumblebee that asks the same.
A yogi meditates on the idea of Oneness: everything in the world is connected- we are microcosms of a larger universe, which envelops all. Yoga means union- a bringing together of all separate parts. In yoga, separation is the ultimate illusion and all of the diversity found in nature is a celebration of a universal Oneness and Love. Often, teachers will express the concept of Oneness as the cyclical relationship between root and crown; they are one in the same. A tree’s roots grow to almost the exact width of the crown’s diameter so that it can drink from the earth and sky enough to give back what it takes in its oxygen producing ability.
Being kind and gracious to others and the environment is part of a larger system that is designed by balance. A yogi practices the art of balancing- both with the mind and body- so she is a stable force able to help others achieve balance too.
Author- Jamie Troy
Quotes by Nichiren,