After spending enough time on all fours digging, planting, and weeding, and hanging out with other gardeners, you often hear them commenting on how they can spend hours in the garden and not even know it. They use words like, “Zen state,” “being in the zone,” “transcending everyday conscious-ness,” and many more. What they’re all essentially saying is that in some shape or form that they discover spirituality in the garden
And for those of us who are able to access this sweet spot, it truly is heaven.
Using the garden as a tool for your spiritual practice is a no-brainer. And if like most folks, you need a few tips to get you going in the right direction, here they are.
1. Set an intent.
Perceive your time in the garden as your “garden practice,” a tool to access spirituality– no different than meditation or yoga.
2. Designate a specific amount of time when you can work quietly with no interruptions.
You wouldn’t have a cell phone or allow your children to interrupt you in a yoga class or while meditating. Your time in the garden should be treated with the same amount of respect. It’s your sacred time.
3. Think in terms of process, not results.
The goal is NOT how much weeding you get done. Rather, it’s how much you allow yourself to enjoy and open up to what the process can offer you.
4. Move slowly and breathe deeply.
Gardening with intent is a practice. By slowing down and breathing deeply, you’re changing your physiology.
5. Take the time to observe.
Open up your eyes, looking at both the details and the landscape. Try to see things differently than you usually do. If you normally pass the maple tree and think “Pretty,” how about stopping and touching its bark or grabbing a leaf and looking at it up close. Doing so can open up an entirely new world and will expand your powers of observation.
6. Let your mind wander and enter a state of flow.
If you find yourself thinking about “to do” lists, gently guide yourself to either what you’re presently doing or to a happy time from your childhood when you were in nature.
7. Say a prayer of thanks for the beauty that surrounds you.
It doesn’t need to be fancy. One sentence that comes from your heart is all that’s needed.
8. Talk with the plants.
Even something simple like looking at a rose and thinking, “Aren’t you a beauty,” or standing under an old tree and thinking, “Hey old fella, I bet you’ve experienced and seen a lot in your life,” are forms of communicating.
9. Relax your body.
Mind and body are interconnected. Being aware of muscle tightness and consciously letting go of tension enables you to sink into the process and open up to an expanded awareness.
10. Look for magic.
The more deeply you connect with your own nature, as well as the nature that surrounds you, the more you’ll start looking for, and seeing, magic everywhere.