Sowing: Discernment Required

A sower went out to sow.  Jesus begins one of his most well known parables.

3 “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”*

While various gospel writers tell this story a little differently, at its heart, it’s a zen story.  A reader who attends does not need an interpreter.  Someone goes out to sow seeds.  What happens to seeds that fall on a path?  Birds eat them.  To seeds that fall on rocks?  They burn up.  To seeds that fall into a brier patch?  They are choked out.

Seeds that fall into soil grow and produce.  Listen to that.  The Buddha said it another way: when all the conditions are right, a thing comes into being.

What seeds are you planting in your life right now?  Ideas.  Plans.  Hopes.  Budding relationships.  When any of our plantings leave our hands and hearts, they land in a particular environment.  We have some choices about where we send our seeds, our hopes. Is this time, this place, this set of relationships, this atmosphere right?  If they are not, better to hold our sowing.  If they are, then let our sowing be rich and the beginning of a future harvest.

It’s okay to wait if the conditions are not right.  It’s okay to sow if the conditions are right. Discernment required.

Bob Patrick

*Mark 4:3-9, New Revised Standard Version

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