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Meditation on Gratitude

22 X 30 watercolor, 1987

spiritual trailblazers

the story of this painting



. . . if a home has not a garden and an old tree,

I see not whence the everyday joys of life are to come?

Ch'en Hao-tsu The Flower Hermit(1)

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The Story of this Painting

When I sit in meditation quietly watching my breath the world begins to turn. There is a place, a magic spot, in the midst of this motion where my body becomes one with the earth. At that moment I become a flower in the garden. My skin becomes fragile, pearlescent, alive with photosynthesis. Breathing perfume my lily scent merges with the fragrance of cherry blossoms, the dancing finger tips of the ancient gnarled tree at the center of the earth. From deep within the rich fertile humus, water flows. An underground spring revealing the secret place where life begins. The soft petals awaken and open to receive morning sun. I commune deeply with the moisture laden heart of the flowers and watch as dew forms a river rivulet that playfully tumbles to the moss blanket below. The cherry tree's roots weave together the earth that cradles me like a beloved child. Its branches hold up the sky. I am surrounded and embraced by my life. Gratitude forms my body. Love animates it.

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Beyond the eaves of the pavilion an old tree raised its gnarled trunk;

its branches throwing a dense shade across the window, dyeing our faces green . . .

We spent the long, hot summer days together:

doing nothing but reading, discussing the classics, enjoying the moonlight or idly admiring the flowers . . . I

n all the world, we thought, no life could be happier than this.

Shen Fu(2)

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