Undone

‘The Way is hard enough!
Against Springs warm Sakura
I have no defence’

Marvin Minsky was the father of Artificial Intelligence research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was a quirky guy as you might expect, but he had more insights into the way the human mind operates as a family of sub-subsystems than any before him, or since. What has this to do with cherry blossoms? Well, Minsky said ‘If you find yourself really liking something, try not to think of yourself as having a good time. Instead, view it as a kind of brain cancer, because one part of your mind has figured out how to switch the other parts off.’  Years of developing the self discipline to keep practising even if I’m cold, tired, bored, upset or distracted (with varying success depending on the day!), but this morning’s cherry blossom (Sakura) stopped me in my tracks again and again. Beauty it seems, could switch things off. I’m not sure how bad that is.

Transience

‘Spring pink’s nodding heads
I return to say farewell
before the lowing storm’

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Notes: One of the things I like about Sakura is how brief it is.  One heavy storm and it’s over for a year. Sometimes you get a day or two, sometimes a week. Not so different from us, but the short timescale is a helpful reminder of our impermanence. This year, alas, just a day or two before a storm swept it away.  I got home in time to say goodbye until next Spring.

Preference

‘Intoxicating!
Scented snow whirls on the breeze
Sunshine warms my back…’

‘Hard, easy, or not
There are tasks to be done, but
preference intrudes.’

Notes: Here’s another pair I’ve chosen to keep in company.  The first Spring sunny day was deliriously fragrant and warm. I really felt euphoric. How wonderful.

I find it hard, but important, to remember the middle way at times like this, as well as when things are difficult. The middle way is not available to those who get too lost in thinking ‘This is better, this is worse, this is easy and this is hard’.  So even when things are going well, I try not to get ‘too high’ or ‘low’ when the flip side comes around and things are not so easy.