the llama blog
practicing yoga off the mat.
My flower and vegetable gardens are all set. Seeds planted. Mulch laid. Sprinklers set to timers. I can finally sit back and watch everything grow. Or so I think. Long days of rain flood a bed I must now mend. Thunderstorms and their strong winds bend tomato stems that beg for more support. Oh, and did I mention the weeds? The garden is very much alive this time of year and needs care every day.
Like a garden, our own inner landscape needs weeding and fertilizing too. When I dig my hands into the dirt, I cannot be happier. It’s a connection with the Earth, a realization that this life is bigger than me. This same realization bubbles up when I sit in meditation. I not only see the world as a whole garden, but I also see myself as a grain of dirt in that garden.
These feelings of connection and belonging help cultivate a larger flower known as compassion. When we no longer see our self as a separate flower in the middle of a field, we can open our hearts to accept our neighbors as family, our city as friends. We become of service to each other like a marigold whose scent deters harmful pests from nibbling on juicy, red tomatoes.
American Buddhism teacher, Jack Kornfield started one of his meditations with “sit and sweep the garden.” Take a moment to find a comfortable seat preferably outside in your garden. With your breath, mentally sweep the dust and weeds away from your heart. Allow the sunlight to shine into your heart. Feel the radiance and connection you’ve cultivated by tending to your heart garden.