If you’re getting into the swing of things this season, chances are you may be interested in doing a little gardening. You may be aware of the nutritional benefits of gardening your own food; however, you may want to consider the positive effects that gardening can have on your consciousness.
Just about all nature experiences can be beneficial to your spirit. There is something special and enlivening that nature awakens within you. Gardening is a great way for you to incorporate the power of ancient wisdom traditions while cultivating your own food to bring about growth and healing.
By consciously growing your food, you can enjoy the added benefit of growing your consciousness.
The following tips are designed to open your gardening experience to new heights of awareness. Consider these practices and use them to create your own unique spiritualized way to grow.
1. Use Garden Time for Meditation
Gardening can be very meditative—you may be already using it as a meditation practice without even realizing it. Even in a small, enclosed garden, you can find tranquility in the sounds of nature, the smell of fresh earth, or the warmth from the sun. You may feel a sense of calm wash over you–an act of meditation in itself, albeit a passive, unintentional version.
The idea here is to purposefully use your gardening time for meditative practice. Try simple techniques such as repeating a mantra, chanting, praying, or singing. In addition to your own peace of mind, these practices can also have positive effects on your plants.
2. Incorporate Color and Aromatherapy
An appealing garden should be colorful and aromatic just by the naturally occurring blessings of Mother Earth. However, you can enhance your gardening experience by intentionally manipulating the scenery. In the teachings of Ayurveda, you can find emphasis placed on your overall digestion of life. This digestion includes all of your five senses, and it is thought to be a continuous activity.
When planning your garden, consider including aromatic flowers or herbs for olfactory pleasure. There are many flowers that have a nice smell, so have fun selecting what works best for you. For instance, lavender provides a pleasant smell. Also, Holy Basil, mint, and chamomile are just a few medicinal herbs that give off fragrance. Select plants so that as the sun bakes and the wind breezes, you can find yourself bathing in pleasant smells.
Plotting your garden with color in mind is also a great way to invigorate your mind. Rather than just selecting different colors based on the variety of food you decide to grow or the type of colorful flowers you would like to keep around, try making your garden space feel lively. By creating a beautiful scene in and around the garden, you make the experience more appealing and positive.
3. Tune in with Sounds
When it comes to being outdoors, you cannot find better sounds than those naturally occurring in the environment. However, if you would like to enhance the peacefulness of your gardening experience, you can get some wind chimes, or use a singing bowl to tune yourself and your plants periodically.
4. Breathing Techniques
While working around plants, appreciate the subtle relationship with your environment that’s created through your breath. Be mindful of the fact that on a biological scale, you are exchanging with the plants. As you exhale, they breathe in. Their respiration purifies and nourishes the air you breathe. This is so important, yet often taken for granted.
While in the garden, make time for some of your breathing exercises. Breathe deeply and slowly, and allow yourself to become aware of your role as nourisher to the environment. This principle can be understood on many different levels, but while in your garden, you are privy to the most basic and important one of all: your food. Share your breath with your food, and be nourished—body and soul.
5. Mindful Eating
As you harvest food from your garden, make it a point to plan your meals with Ayurvedic, conscious-eating principles. Incorporate the six tastes and give yourself plenty of colorful variety. While harvesting and during meals, remember to give back gratitude. This simple thought toward your garden and yourself will benefit your digestion and cultivate a loving, nourishing awareness within.