Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
A warrior in a garden- this is my chosen title for this new writing endeavor.
According to the internet, a conversation once took place between a student and his teacher, the great Bruce Lee. The conversation was something similar to this.
“Sensei, why do we go through all of these hours of training? We practice endlessly, but there is no one to fight.” The great teacher paused and then replied, “I would rather be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.”
What, then, am I? Am I a warrior or a gardener? The truth is that I am both and more. I am also neither one. Bruce Lee, I imagine, would be pleased with this answer. Warriors are fighters, but they can’t always be fighting, can they? They must train, rest, eat…. When the fights come, and they eventually will, the warrior will stand ready to face the challenge with determination and a calm spirit.
I am no soldier, so what does my fight look like? The internal fighting; the struggles of being a decent human in a chaotic world- these fights are constant. When a man of character is faced with his hundreds of very small, yet meaningful choices which embody the day, each choice can be a fast and well-rehearsed fight. Always striving to improve something over the previous day; this becomes a fight against complacency and apathy. Choosing words that have wisdom within them; this is the fight against ignorance and the mundane. Serving as an example to emulate for the sake of my children; the fight to be responsible instead of careless is real. And always, lurking in the background, nearly forgotten, is the fight to accept reality itself and to turn away from the indulgent and, ultimately self-destructive lies of the ego.
The gardener is a caretaker of all of the life he chooses to cultivate. Gardening is the expression of love and caring for the world I am a part of. It is also a useful illustration of the paradox of the Now. The only reality, of course, is right now. Nothing else is real. The past is shadow, and the future, nothing but conjecture. Being present is the only way to fully appreciate living. And yet, there is the garden. The garden does not emerge, fully formed, from the soil. Its plants are selected and brought to place by the gardener. When they start as seeds, then the seeds must be planted, each in their proper time. Is the planting real? Yes. As I plant a seed, that act is the only real thing I experience in that expression of the Now.
The garden in the living expression of the related energies and forces that exist between the gardener and his world. There is order and disorder. Here we see harmony, and there, a chaotic element pushes through. Some choices become successful outcomes, and some are, as it happens, not conducive to success. The truth, however, is that the garden simply is.
Would I rather be a warrior in a garden, or a gardener in a war? Being both as well as neither one shall suffice.