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your garden grows at midnight


Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
How can we live amid the anguish unfolding in the world? One possible answer is to commit ourselves to the cultivation of goodness.
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The world can feel dark these days: unstable, shaky, sometimes horrifying.

So how do we live with all this? And is meditation even a worthwhile response to a world in crisis?

First, yes: I believe meditation is a worthwhile response.

It’s not the only response, of course, and we must nest it in a set of values that includes wise action. But action doesn’t get wise without tending our hearts in the midst of sorrow.

So how to live with all this?

Action doesn’t get wise without tending our hearts in the midst of sorrow.

Maybe it’s by committing ourselves to the cultivation of goodness.

No matter what.

Because we don’t need a better world to cultivate goodness.

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We cultivate goodness right in the midst of the life we have, in the shake and tumble of this world right now.

🦋 🦋 🦋

It’s like tending a garden. We make sure the soil is healthy. We fold in fertilizer. We water, weed, and pray for sun. And then the garden grows on its own.

Likewise with the heart. We don’t make kindness happen, or compassion, or joy.

We create the conditions for these beneficial states to arise.

Day after day, we sit down to meditate. We bring our attention back to this body and heart and mind, again and again. We invite a sense of warmth, a kind awareness.

And very gradually, goodness grows.

This goodness doesn’t need things to be easy.

Just like a garden grows at midnight, your kindness and compassion can grow when you’re suffering. They can grow when you’re sick, or heartsick. They can grow when everything around you is falling apart.

Sometimes, in fact, they grow better when things are worse.

So please don’t wait. Don’t wait for things to calm down. (They probably won’t.) Don’t wait till you’re feeling better.

Start now. Start here.

And then let me know how it goes.

sending good wishes,
nico hase

This article was originally published at devon + nico hase. It is reprinted here with permission.

Picture of nico hase

nico hase

nico hase lived in a monastery for six years before earning a PhD in counseling psychology and becoming an Insight Meditation teacher full time. He currently mentors mindfulness teachers, teaches online and in-person retreats, and speaks with students in one-on-one sessions. He and his beloved life partner devon are the authors of How Not to Be a Hot Mess: A Survival Guide for Modern Life.
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