Gardening As Meditation
As creators of reality most of us have found something in life that helps us feel the essence of ourselves. Something that makes us feel alive and connected, comforted, inspired. When life becomes confusing, uncertain, or fearful, we turn to our meditation, be it music or art or fishing or dancing, to help return us to a state of normalcy. For me, it’s growing plants. All my life I have enjoyed gardening. It is my meditation. I have always been fascinated by the miracle of nature that can take a small seed and evolve it into a mango tree, or tomato plant or giant redwood. As a gardener I feel a part of that miraculous process, as I strive to create the environment that allows this process to work.
Early in my gardening hobby, I chose to go organic, as my goal has always been to be a part of the natural process rather than believing that mankind has discovered a better way. The use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides has proven to degrade our environment and has turned fertile productive farms into wastelands and polluted our drinking water, rivers and lakes. Though I don’t have scientific evidence, I believe that food grown with these synthetic pesticides and herbicides carry small amounts of toxins and can impact our health in the long run. More importantly, for me, using nature’s methods requires I learn the natural process, helping me to grow closer to nature, to my nature, and enhance the health of our planet at the same time.
For those who may believe that life is nothing more than an accident, take a good look in your garden. There is a definite order to things. Have you ever noticed that stress makes fruit trees grow more fruit? I learned this back in 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11. Right after that event, the postal service stopped shipping large boxes as ordered by the federal government. At the time I was operating a nursery and organic tree farm on Guam. I had ordered several fruit tree seedlings from California prior to 9/11, which got hung up by the postal service. Six weeks later my box of fruit tree seedlings came in. Every little seedling, about a foot tall, had produced a bunch of tiny fruits. It’s as if these trees were trying to reproduce before their deaths. I learned later on that by stressing full grown trees you can induce reproduction and increase yield.
I’ve also been fascinated by grafting and air layering. I once grafted five different varieties of lemons on to one tree and all of these varieties survived. Air layering, for those who may not know, is a propagation method of baring a piece of limb from one tree, wrapping it in plastic and peat moss until it produces roots. You cut below the root ball and plant. It will grow into a productive tree in only a year or two. Nature is really amazing.
For me, there is nothing more comforting, relaxing, more meditative than sitting on the floor of my garden. working the soil with my hands, smelling the plants and herbs as they reach for the sun, feeling the vitality of the life around me. I know others feel the same when they play music, go out to sea, paint on a canvass, or sing in the shower. We all have our meditations that bring us closer to our inner selves.
Meditation is more than sitting in a lotus position, slow breathing, staring at a candle to calm your mind. To me, meditation is the process of aligning my outer self with my inner self. My outer self is the character I “think” I am. My inner self is the creator of that character and the part of me that experiences the whole of my creation. When you are doing something you love, you know you are closer to your inner self, as the source and essence of your inner self is love.