Enlightenment is always sudden. It is grace; when the conditions are right, it happens. But the path leading up to that moment is gradual. We practice, we create the field, we prepare the ground, and the mind eventually opens suddenly and spontaneously…’The mind is radiant, shining, glowing forth; but it is stained by the defilements that visit it…Unless a practice cools the fires of greed, aversion, and ignorance it is worthless.’ (from Insight Meditation: the practice of freedom by Joseph Goldstein, Shambala Books, 1994.)
Every religion has a special time during the course of the year where believers are encouraged to purify themselves: their hearts, minds, souls. This period is usually marked by fasting of some sort, giving up those things that serve to ‘defile’ that purity. Christians have just embarked upon one such period, Lent. Whatever your belief or lack of belief, setting aside a period where you will dedicate yourself to such concentration can be no bad thing. As Buddhist teaching would have it, it gives you the space for preparing the ground.
And to achieve, there also has to be an understanding of when to finish, when to rest, to say “Done is what had to be done.” Until the next day when we begin anew. This is a common refrain in Buddhist teaching.
Birds, I think, can show us what purity is like, for after all, they are pure action. There really is no thought process, no planning, no reflection: there is just doing, all day doing (sometimes they can drive you nuts with all the doing all day). It has to be said that they are not the models of loving kindness, as described by the Buddha, or of Christian charity.
But they are purity of action. And are kind of cute with it.
What’s wrong with this picture?
As you might have gathered from my last few posts, I have been keeping an eagle eye on the bees, for signs of spring-like action. And, with the perfect weather we have been having for the past week or so, they have not disappointed. Kind of. Hive Two (Garage hive) have been pure action themselves, all buzzy in and out of the hive with the pork chops (protein) strapped to their legs. So, everything looks normal there.
And Hive One (the Main Hive) has seen the same kind of action. Except. They have been flying in and out the back of the hive, not the front. It should be physically impossible for them to fly out the back of the hive, except we have had a wonky mesh floor at the bottom of that hive for a few years (the reason we haven’t been able to do mite counts). However, they have always used the front door for entering and exiting. Except for this spring.
We, or I, got it into our heads that maybe there was some kind of obstruction at the opening. So, we opened up the hive this Sunday, and although there was a bit of gumming up between frames as to be expected, no obstructions on the floor of the hive that would have prevented them from flying out the front. A mystery only fathomable by the bees themselves.
While I don’t think there really would be any harm to have let them continue as they were, I figured it was best to get the wonky mesh floor out of there and replace it with their original solid floor. The mesh floor was pretty skanky-looking, so we should probably give it a good clean any way and get it in working order.
You may have guessed what the next problem was. The bees were totally confused about where to enter and exit. Even now, there are a few who will hang around the back of the hive, crawl under it to the front entrance, instead of going right to the front entrance. I figured it shouldn’t be too much of a trauma, as once they got in, all the smells would be the same. But it remains to be seen how traumatised they are .
At any rate, done is what had to be done….