Thursday July 5, 2007
I can’t claim this insight for myself. Last weekend I was down once again at Gaia House, on a weekend metta retreat, which was much needed. I did a lot of sleeping and a lot of meditation, not all of it at the same time. Anyway, as we hurtling back up the M5 motorway to Birmingham, we were talking about various matters – philosophy, meditation, the virtues of the chocolate muffins we had just been eating in the service station – and Elee (who was at the wheel of the hire car), turning the well-worn phrase on its head, said something about “not seeing the trees for the wood.”
It is a striking idea, and it seemed to fit in with my mood after the retreat. How much time do I spend not seeing the trees for the wood? It is so easy to get lost in large, grand-sounding abstractions, and in doing so, to miss the close, intimate business of living. Which is, I think, why I find meditation retreats useful. They give a chance to spend some time returning one’s attention to the trees, whilst letting the wood look after itself.
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