Reprinted with permission.
A friend of mine was visiting the other day and he happened to mention that last summer he visited a beekeeper in southern Manitoba. He said to me that when he was with the hives he was surprised to learn that he wasn’t afraid... he had been given a veil and a pair of gloves... the beekeeper wore no protection. It was midsummer and the bees were hard at work. My friend said he felt calm and comforted by the sound of bees buzzing. He even took off the veil and gloves and received no bee stings.
He told me he wants to start beekeeping on his farm and I thought to myself, " Well you are already halfway there if you feel calm around the working bees."
Working in the bee yard is akin to meditating. I have always thought this to be true, as a meditator and beekeeper myself. Then I came across a book about the subject. It is called "Meditation and the Art of Beekeeping: The Way To Bee" by Mark Magill.
You might ask, what do beekeeping and meditation have in common?
Analytical meditation, or Vipassana as it is called by Buddhists, is about overcoming inattention, lack of observation, and a closed mind, in order to see and understand the world more clearly.
Beekeepers also need to be open to their surroundings, and enter the bees’ domain quietly, attentively. They must be ready to observe what is happening at that moment, rather than striding in, suited up, with a plan already fully formed as to what the bees need right now. No thinking: "I am the beekeeper in charge here and I should know".
Getting back to my friend. He experienced the bees with an open mind, ready to observe what was happening, and he was rewarded with a feeling of calm... a gift from the bees.
More about meditation and beekeeping in the next few months.