The opening chapter of Work as a Spiritual Practice features a shiny blue grasshopper landing on the head of a statue of the Buddha. I read and reread the book often and finally gave it away when I retired and moved. Since then, I’ve reflected on its lessons, such as awareness of the task itself as meditation, being present to one’s steps and breath even when rushing, and keystroke meditation. But I never saw a blue grasshopper until today.
Silvery blue and coral pink against the gray of a monsoon season sky, it struck me as too beautiful to be real. It also struck me as sign, a reminder to make all my work—writing, yoga teaching, community volunteer work, housework, my to-do list, everything—more of a spiritual practice.
The purple asters in the yard of my apartment building are as tall as I am and full of pollinators. I invited a neighbor to admire the pollen party. The guests were four kinds of bees—big furry bumblebees, honeybees, tiny bright green bees, and one enormous black bee with iridescent wings—and three kinds of butterflies. Though I’ve seen other species, this day’s visitors were a Western Pygmy Blue (the world’s smallest), a green butterfly with yellow spots on its wings, and a black one with white trim. In a ceaseless and seemingly random dance of wings and petals vibrating, they changed flowers and sought nectar again.
My neighbor and I became entranced, neither of ready to move on. He said, “They’re so busy, I feel a sense of accomplishment just watching them.” I said I felt the opposite way, that I was doing nothing at all but watching bees.