Gardening is very much like one’s spiritual journey.
Today, I was blessed with the mood to look consciously at my garden and the plants that surround it. Automatically, I noticed some leaves which needed a trim, some stems that needed to be cut off and some leaves that needed to be swept. Because the weather was welcoming, as in cooling, else I would have given myself another reason to procrastinate the act that the weather is just too hot, I picked up the cutter (I am not sure if there is a special name for this device – the one we use to cut plants with) and started trimming the leaves which were dead, dried or were drying.
So there was this particular plant, where two of its stems looked as if it was turning light green colour, instead of its usual dark bright green colour. Oblivious to whether it was normal or not, I just trimmed the leaves of the light green coloured stems which were ‘dead’ as in yellow. My wise partner came up to me and told me, “honey, cut the whole stem.” With that, he took the cutter from my hand and demonstrated how I could cut the stem right at the bottom of its root just above the earth and pulled out the stem. “There,” he said, handing me the stem and the cutter, “it will grow anew again” and my mind continued in his sentence, “in freshness”.
My dad told me once too, that there was no need to worry about cutting the stem which was turning yellow or was dying as it will grow new roots. Those were just information to me and due to my lack of interest and awareness to how the nature of plants work, I never really bothered and allowed the leaves to be; whether they lived or died, green or blue – because someone else was always around clean up the mess. Or so I thought.
And it reflects back on how the mind is of such nature. The growing of an idea, to its maturity and it withers and die to a somewhat ugly sight. Except that in the case of the mind, the idea doesn’t drop off and die completely though we experience death through it – as in, we become dead, oblivious and unaware. When my partner cut off the root, it was clear that ideas that did not serve the mind had to be uprooted so for new, useful ideas to grow or more so in a clearer and more creative perspective. New ideas that are suited to the moment, to the now. Not the old which were conditioned and moulded in the past due to its past experiences or learning much in the case of the plant growing to its full potential based on the weather experienced in the past few weeks. It may have been hot and sunny a few weeks ago, but it sure is rainy and gloomy these few days. Each of what the plant experiences will exactly determine its growth.
To trim off the little of the leaves of a dying stem, is to do that little work on the mind, and if you are into gardening, you will notice that a shape does start to take place. It does not grow wildly anymore but is within control albeit still within its own nature. And when the stem becomes useless, it is taken away, as in cut off, so that a new root or stem can grow. One that brings freshness to the environment or, at least to my garden.
So this reminds me of something that one of my teachers shared with me some time ago. Rules are only needed for a time being and after that, they are dropped. Such as beliefs, ideas, whatever that is needed for that moment, to cater for a specific condition, situation or learning. To hang on to such beliefs is to limit our own growth and creativity. But isn’t it strange that these beliefs are the ones which brought us thus far?
So I do not know if I will continue the activity of gardening. But I do know that it is not the act of beautifying an outer garden that is important. It is the purifying process of the garden within that is utmost significant – for it is all of life itself.
With a wild forest within, how scenic can the world be?