How to Use Gardening as Meditation


How to Use Gardening as Meditation

gardening meditation

“Hands in the dirt, breathing fresh air, I am renewed and grounded.” - Tiffany Shelton

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Written by Tiffany Shelton, M.A., Owner of Conscious Life Shop, find out more about Tiffany here

 

 

garden meditation

 

Gardening is an activity that stumbled into my life with divine synchronicity. It came at a time in my life where I was truly honing in on what it means to take care of myself. Through the process of nurturing something from seed to fruit, lessons and metaphors arose that changed the way I looked at life. Sadhguru said, “Life is but a brief happening”, and through the seasons of bearing fruit and vegetables from your own land, the miracle of life becomes most apparent. The mindfulness that I developed with gardening directly increased my ability to see life for the miracle that it truly is. I learned the necessity of consistently nurturing myself; I learned the importance of not drowning myself; I learned the importance of shadows; I learned the need for light.

 

Keeping It Real


I have to be honest gardening isn’t always butterflies and basil. The larger you grow your garden, the more hard work it requires. But it’s the type of work that calms your mind, and fills your soul. It’s meaningful, and gives your mind an opportunity to think in different ways.


So what are the benefits of gardening:


  • Being in nature reduces anxiety. When we are in mother nature, we automatically become grounded. Nature has a way of putting life into perspective. The more time we take to disconnect from technology then the more time we have to spend outdoors with the ones we love, and the better our minds will be.
  • Great for physical activity. Toiling soil and carrying water pails can add up to some great physical exercise. You can use gardening as way to process anxious energy and as a great work out.
  • Fresh Air. Gardening automatically puts you in an environment where you consuming more fresh air, while also doing an activity that sends more oxygen to the brain. This is great for brain health and peace of mind.
  • Vitamin D. Gardening is a great way to soak up some sun and vitamin D. Be sure to wear your favorite organic sunscreen, but take the opportunity to get the happy vitamin, Vitamin D.
  • Calms the mind to ease into a flow state. The process of gardening requires concentration and coordination that easily sets the scene for a flow state of consciousness. This can feel like a state of bliss and ecstasy.
  • Cost efficient. If you have the outdoor space, gardening is a cost effective hobby that can bring you peace of mind, pleasure, and food.
  • Produces healthy food. As I just mentioned, not only does gardening help produce food for your family, it offers healthy food options for you and your loved ones.
  • Organic aromatherapy. Planting herbs will offer sweet aromatherapy to your backyard. Relaxing and calming scents are only a step away with an aromatherapy herb garden.
  • Helps the environment. Gardening produces plants that purify our air, and reduce our dependency on mass production. Gardening is a conscious hobby.
  • Saves you money on buying plants and flowers. Like flowers in your home? With a garden, a beautiful bouquet or houseplant is just steps away.
  • Brings joy and satisfaction. The satisfaction of nurturing something from seed to fruit is priceless. Gardening brings pride and joy that certainly will boost your spirits any day
  • Is a great form of meditation to add to your sitting practice. And will tell you how below!

But is it meditation?

gardening meditation


Gardening can be a form of meditation. Meditation is thought to be a spontaneous state that we can only cultivate the setting for. It is not something we can do. It happens, when we appropriately set the scene. Just like yoga, running, and reciting mantras can help set that scene, so can gardening.

 

Gardening as a Flow State


During gardening, the process easily becomes a flow state; which is just a state consciousness of divine-like concentration with mindful and fluid action and perception.


But How?


So how can you reap these same benefits and turn gardening into meditation? Try using these tips to tap into meditative states while gardening.

gardening as meditation


Intuition


The longer you practice gardening, the more you will cultivate intuition. You will begin taking your observations, and gut feelings to experiment with ways to keep your plants alive. You will begin to ask questions like, “What does this plant need?” And you will begin listening to what arises.


Especially if you are growing plants that are not native to your environment, you will use research to determine what exact nutrients it needs. But it is only your intuition that deems the right amount nutrients, the correct placement of the placement, the correct amount of shade versus sun, and the accurate amount of water and frequency. It is your intuition that keeps you present with your current plant. No matter how many gardening tips you read, if you aren’t present with your garden, using your intuition to adjust what it needs, then your garden will not survive.


Curiosity


With intuition comes curiosity. There is a desire to know that intuition feeds.  To turn gardening into a mediation, constantly ask questions and take note of the process you take to answer these questions. Use your curiosity to open your mind to states of not knowing.

Search for Metaphors

 

James Allen said, “A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.” Or more simply put, Ritu Ghatourey said, “Our mind is a garden, our thoughts are the seeds, we can grow flowers, or we can grow seeds.”

Metaphors and symbolism are abundant in the gardening process, seek them out and meditation will occur. One day I was gardening and to my surprise, a large iguana came out of one of my gardening boxes. I am usually terrified by reptiles but this day I was particularly calm and intrinsically just let it be. I stepped back and gave ti respect to be on this earth just as me, and I consciously shifted away from what would be a typical response for me (screaming and contemplating how to get rid of it once and for all). Ironically, I looked up the symbolism of iguanas and found that historically they represent stillness and just letting things be.  

 

Consistency and willingness to practice


If you truly want to turn gardening into a meditative practice it requires consistency and a willingness to stick with the hard work of bringing something to life.  Like sitting down to meditate, there will be days when you don’t feel like getting out in the garden. But you must make a commitment to do it anyway, if you want your seeds to come to fruition.


You will find that the more you invest in your garden, the more willing you will be to continue gardening. When you begin see the fruits of your labor, it will actually be hard NOT to keep up with your garden. After all, you wouldn’t want to throw all that hard work (and money) down the drain.


Tracking


I often recommend a mediation journal to anyone that meditates to help keep track of evolving themes. Tracking your gardening process is equally recommended. Take note of lessons, and watering routines. Jot down what makes a certain plant really happy or even really sad. Write down things you are grateful for in your garden.


When you have been tracking your process for a while, look over your notes and try to be mindful of your progress. Note important themes and use your journal to continue progressing in your gardening process.



Practice letting go and gratitude


If you struggle with letting go, gardening is a great practice to help you hone that skill. To truly make gardening a meditation practice, we must forget the notion of ownership and ego. Instead use gardening as an opportunity to be present with what is, letting go of expectations. You will inevitably witness the death of many plants and vegetation as you garden, and it is important to learn from each passing, and use gratitude to appreciate each opportunity to witness the present moment.


As you learn to let go of expectations for seeds, you can use gratitude to ease the process. Be thankful for everything that is in your garden, even if it is only there for a brief period of time. And when things die pre-mature to your expectations, appreciate the lesson that life is but a brief happening and relish in the miracle of life.


Mindful sensations


Use gardening to develop the habit of mindfully sensing. We can use our mindfulness practice while gardening to make it an immersive meditation. Acquaint yourself with the soil and get your hands dirty. All the while, knowing that you are touching the dirt while you are touching the dirt. Smell the fresh air, and know in that very moment that you breathing the fresh garden air. Hear the birds chirping with mindful awareness. Feel your body as you bend and till. Taste your fruits knowing that you are tasting the very tomato that you nurtured from a seed.


Embrace the present moment with all your being while you are out there creating life. Do so with intention and knowing and this will surely make gardening a meditative practice.


Pleasure


Don’t forget to have fun when you garden. Plant what makes you happy, and take time to enjoy all the pleasures that arise from gardening. After all it’s okay to ENJOY meditation.

 

Resources for How to Start a Garden:


Recommended Starter Plants/vegetables/herbs:

  • Sage
  • Mint
  • Bell Peppers
  • Tomotoes
  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Succulents
  • Cactus

If you don’t have space for an outside garden watch this video for tips on house plants:


Don”t Have Space? Use this link to find a community garden:

Community Garden Finder Link

How to Use Gardening as Meditation 

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Written by Tiffany Shelton, M.A., Owner of Conscious Life Shop, find out more about Tiffany here



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