Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace. — May Sarton
One of my most soul fulfilling activities is tending my garden. No matter how full my schedule, or how challenging my day, I always make time for meditation and gardening (and often I meditate in my garden). When you garden, you are grounded in the earth while at the same time connected to the spirit world. It’s as if your body becomes a bridge between the physical world and heaven!
Brian and I recently moved to a home that has lots of beautiful growing space – which I’m taking full advantage of – but you can realize the soul benefits of gardening anywhere. All you need is a patch of earth, or space for a flowerpot or window box.
If you’re not already sold on the spiritual benefits of gardening, here are ten reasons to pull on some gloves, grab a spade, and give it a try:
1) It’s hard not to love life while you’re doing it! Working in the garden with the sun on your back, enjoying the sights and smells of the plants and flowers gets your endorphins going and brings out positive feelings of vitality, accomplishment and gratitude.
2) You’re honoring mother earth. It’s no secret that plants, trees and flowers provide wonderful benefits to the Earth and everyone who lives there. To make your gardening even more Earth friendly, try using recycled rainwater and composting food scraps.
3) You can see the transformative results of your hard work. So many things that we spend time on have temporary results. A garden is satisfying because it builds on itself – plants and trees get bigger and healthier, and your garden gets more beautiful over time.
4) It’s a mindful activity that engages your senses. Mindfulness is the act of being totally present in the moment. When you are planting, watering, weeding and harvesting your senses are fully engaged in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations of your garden.
5) Gardening gets you out of your own head and helps ground you. We all spend lots of time “in our heads” thinking, worrying, and planning but gardening gives us time to connect with something tangible and real.
6) Gardening is an analogy for life. When I’m busy in my garden, I tend to get philosophical. Recently I had this thought. “The mind is like a garden and every once in a while you have to pull out the weeds.”
7) You feel closer to loved ones on the other side – When I’m gardening and I see a special flower, bird or butterfly, I feel as if my mother is sitting by my side.
8) It’s a great excuse to do something nice for someone else. Brian and I love to pick lemons or flowers from our back yard and share them with friends and neighbors. It’s a simple act of kindness that brings joy to the giver and the receiver.
9) It creates beauty and joy for yourself and others. I love to sit quietly and admire the plants and flowers in my garden – it’s also gratifying when neighbors come by and admire our progress.
10) It’s a great alternative to mediating – when I’m watering, weeding, and hoeing I find myself slipping into “the gap” just as I do when I meditate.
I’m a lover of plants, flowers and the outdoors – but art, music, writing, even ironing have some of the same soul fulfilling benefits as gardening – I hope you’ll share your favorite activities and why you love them on my Facebook Page!
Here’s a meditation inspired by my time in the garden:
To become AWARE, there is no better place to start then in nature. One day when I was planting some flowers, I got tired and began to drift into the following journey. Try taking this soul journey in your own garden, in a park, or even with a vase of cut flowers.
Pick out one flower you would like to explore. In this case let’s say it is a pink rose. Sit in front of the pink rose, close your eyes and take some gentle breaths. Through the breath, bring yourself back to the center of your being, which is the heart space. Tucked neatly behind the heart is where the soul resides.
As you become more aware of this space, begin to have the thought that you are much more than the human body. As a soul your light extends way beyond the body into the earth the sky and all around you. Think of yourself now as light. Now, take your light and go on a journey.
Place your mind into the very center of the rose. Sit in the very middle of the bloom. What does it feel like inside, look like, smell like and taste like? Become aware that there is a lovely world within the rose and you are a part of it. Communicate with the petals, begin to comprehend the movements of the world within. How does light, water, placement, and affect the world of the rose.
Begin to blend into the life-force which is within all living things. The only difference is the degree of light and love. Once you are blended with this rose energy, come back out and into the heart space again. You may now go into any structure and explore, such as a leaf, blade of grass, rocks, etc…the only limit is your own mind.