By now you have surely heard the symphony of lawnmowers, weed eaters, bees, and children playing that signify springtime is upon us. This means it’s time to get back down in the dirt and co-create some of nature's goodness. This participation with Mother Earth can be very rewarding for not only our bodies but also for our consciousness. The wisdom traditions of the world often refer to the oneness and transcendence one feels when interacting with nature. Gardening can hold a similar power if you seek it.
Here is a simple guideline using Deepak Chopra's Seven Spiritual Laws as a framework. You do not necessarily have to follow these by the day to receive benefits; however, gardening can be that much more transcendental by coupling it with the practice as found in Dr. Chopra's writings. The purpose here is merely to see these laws at play within the experiences you have this gardening season. Also, you can utilize the corresponding mantras while trimming, watering, etc., to further solidify this connection with Higher Consciousness.
1. The Law of Pure Potentiality
This spiritual law is most important when plotting the garden. When you think of pure potentiality sometimes the meaning can be vague. However, if you take a look within yourself, you will see the unbounded potential for experience in your consciousness. There are no limits to who you are or what you are capable of.
In appreciation of this, you can transfer this truth to your work in the garden. Think of the fruits and vegetables that you will produce. Let your imagination roam when planning the aesthetics of the garden. What brilliant, beautiful arrangements can you come up with? Take some time to just look at the soil. Appreciate the potential for transformation and things to come. How will it turn out? What delicious meals will you produce from the harvest?
While exploring these thoughts, periodically bring yourself back to the present moment before any of it comes into being. The purpose of this activity is to remind you that all of those things to come—the garden, the work that will go into it, the harvest, even the taste and look of the food—is all within you presently. You are pure potential—the universe, likewise, is pure potential.
Mantra: Om Bhavam Namah
2. The Law of Giving and Receiving
The law of giving and receiving is also evident in gardening. Most noticeably, you have to give your time and effort to gardening in order to produce a good harvest. This includes watering, repotting, pruning, and sweating from your brow. You must give care and consideration to your plants in order to receive the blessings of food that they will produce.
This truth can parallel other aspects of your life such as your goals, your body, your relationships, etc. In order to produce the blessedness of yourself and life, you must be dutiful to your personal growth and consciousness. As you go through your regular gardening routine, try to be mindful of the subtler aspects of what you are doing. Give your gifts, and receive bountiful harvest.
Mantra: Om Vardhanam Namah
3. The Law of Karma (Cause and Effect)
In gardening, as with everything in life, there are actions and consequences. For instance, let’s say you are too busy to water your garden for a few days—as a result, your plants would suffer. Or if you place an herb that thrives on low sunlight intensity in an open field, you may get less of a harvest or even kill it. These are simple understandings that come along with attention and awareness of your garden.
The relation to karma here is found in the understanding that you are the gardener of your soil just as you are the gardener of your soul. By routinely pulling out the weeds, you are making way for bigger and better fruit. Comparatively, weeding out unwanted thoughts is loosening energy and thoughts that drain nourishment in your life. Clearly marking your rows of plants is like plotting your life's course and organizing your thoughts. These qualitative similarities are more than just rhetoric if you give them consideration. Use your garden as a tool to expand your consciousness by remaining mindful of the correlations with your spiritual path. This should encourage you toward better choices in general and better food.
Mantra: Om Kriyam Namah
4. The Law of Least Effort
One of the most special things about gardening is illustrated by this law: let nature do the work. The Law of Least Effort teaches you to trust the Universe and the power of your intentions. Through this law, you can realize the way of life in which you get maximum results from minimal efforts. Supported and nurtured by the Universe, your goals and desires can be met with cooperation and natural easiness.
The act of gardening is a lot like this; no matter how involved or detailed you may choose to be about your garden, ultimately it is the Earth and the Universal Intelligence that do the work. This is a point to remember and appreciate. There are those who are so meticulous about their gardening and landscape that they often end up creating more work rather than enjoying it all. Relax. Allow your plants the time and freedom they need to grow. It is not necessary for you to constantly monitor or pick at your plants. Their water chemistry doesn't constantly need adjusting and every little insect that comes near them is not harmful. Trust nature's process.
Mantra: Om Daksham Namah
5. The Law of Intentions and Desires
From the beginning, and even as you continue to work with your plants, focus some attention on your intentions. Maybe you are doing this as a hobby, or you simply enjoy the free organic food. Are you gardening as a way of feeding your family, or is it financially motivated? Are you getting into this for health purposes? These are all questions of intention.
As with more serious issues in life, it helps to keep the outcome in mind during the sometimes tedious moments of the process. While weeding the garden, remind yourself of how delicious the food will be or the nutrition you'll be providing to your family. Simple remembrances like this are useful and good practice for other aspects of life. Also, be aware of how nature is co-conspiring with your intentions to grant you the produce.
Mantra: Om Ritam Namah
6. The Law of Detachment
This law, like the previous one, is more applicable to the actual work of owning a garden. This law states, “My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome.” Similarly, while performing tasks like watering, pruning, etc., it is good to allow yourself to be in the present moment without concern.
Many of these tasks can take on a meditative feel when performed this way. Simply be with your garden. If your thoughts lead you to pick something up, do so. If you're led to trim this piece, follow. If your attention falls on a ripened specimen, harvest it. If you're simply taking in all the colors, appreciate. Sometimes you can accomplish more by present moment awareness than directed purposeful thought. This can be true in the garden as in life.
Mantra: Om Anandham Namah
7. The Law of Dharma
This law states, “My life is in harmony with cosmic law.” Gardening can be a living example of this in your life. Working with nature to produce food is truly a blessed act. There is something special about watching your crops sprout up after all your preparation, work, and anticipation. There is a quiet reassurance in yourself when you are able to eat what you and the elements have created together. The enhanced relationship you can build with nature and your Self, in self-reliance, can be moving.
Throughout the season, regularly bring yourself back to a centered place where you remember just how special all of it is. When gardening is done with this deeper sense of purpose and awareness in mind, a harmony reveals itself. More than likely it is not your life's dharma to own a garden. However, if you use awareness coupled with the purity of nature, you may discover dharma through the meditative aspects of gardening.
Also, consider the “getting back to nature” simplicity of the practice. There are few activities that go so far back in human genetic history as cultivating our food. Our ancestors have farmed and/or harvested sustenance from this relationship with plants for quite some time. In a way, you could perceive your beginner's tomato garden as a connection with this deeper human purpose and talent. This is related to dharma as well, albeit a broader human dharma.
Mantra: Om Varunam Namah