Find Peace in Your Spring Garden and you will find peace throughout the day. It sounds simple, but it will require a little planning. Yesterday I started to build a meditation garden in an area on the side of the house where nobody every does anything. It has a couple of trees and a row of bushes along the property line.
Your spring garden can be a delightful addition to your meditation practice. It can be very simple to design a special space that will appeal to all your senses without requiring much time consuming maintenance. These are some ways to create a garden that can improve your peace of mind come rain or shine. Here in Wisconsin, it will be mostly shine because I will be south of the boarder in the colder months,.
Designing a Spring Meditation Garden:
1. Select lush plants. An abundance of green plants helps to create a relaxing atmosphere. Any variety of mint or other herbs will add a pleasing scent. If you live in a warm climate, you can enjoy the rustle of bamboo or look for an ornamental grass that’s suited to your region. Try to find a spot for some lavender, it adds beauty as well as a nice scent. I love flowers, and suggest a few of your favorites.
2. Incorporate objects of meditation. Depending on your faith tradition, you may want to include a statue or another meaningful image. A simple arrangement of rocks or weathered wood can add extra appeal. Many people also find it helpful to rake gravel or sand. Many specialty stores sell these ready made “Zen Gardens.” I like how that looks but it really wouldn’t be me, as raking is a task that I already do.
3. Install solar birdbaths or fountains. The sound of running water can stimulate your mind while it masks background noises. With solar devices, you can enjoy the effect and be good to the environment. You’ll also delight in the song and company of the birds you attract. I have four bird feeders on one of the trees, and really enjoy birds and butterflies in my gardens.
4. Arrange for comfortable seating. If you prefer to sit on the ground, you may just want to keep a spot clear so you can bring a cushion or mat outdoors with you. If you use a chair, ensure it promotes good posture so you can keep your back straight and your feet on the ground. I find peace with a good book, so I have a swinging bench for the times I just want to read.
5. Build a path. Even in a small garden, a path can enhance your sense of space and exploration. You can contemplate a trail of stones and diversify your practice with some walking meditation if the path can be long enough.
Find time to spend Sunny Days in Your Spring Meditation Garden:
1. Clear away distractions. Put aside internal and external distractions when it’s time to meditate. Depending on where you live, it may be helpful to meditate early in the morning when there’s less traffic and other background noise. In the warmer days of summer, I often go there at about 6 a.m. with a cup of herbal tea. When I was but a wee lad, living in foster homes, I went to church every week and one of the songs that has never left my mind, started out ” I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the Roses, and he walks with me, and he talks with me………….”
2. Make distractions part of your practice. If external distractions persist, welcome them into your practice. Use the sounds of car horns and people talking to train your mind to stay focused on your meditation object instead of pursuing other thoughts. Note the interruption and bring your mind back to your contemplations. This will be hard at first, but gets easier with time.
3. Ward away bugs. There are many ways to steer clear of insects without killing them. For wasps, keep a look out so you can stay away from their nests. Avoid the things that attract them like perfume, bright colors, and food. For natural ant repellent, try planting some mint or cucumber. At the end of the summer, I always dry sage. When there are flying critters in my garden, I burn a couple of twigs of sage, the smoke sends them away and I enjoy the smell of smoldering sage. Just light it, and stick the twig someplace about 4 or 5 feet off the ground so that the smoke can work it’s magic.
4. Protect yourself from excessive sun exposure. You get just as much sun whether you’re exercising or sitting down. Use a sunscreen with full spectrum protection and wear a hat, especially if you meditate at midday when the sun is strongest. I actually find that time in my private garden is best early in the morning and right around sunset.
Enjoying Your Spring Meditation Garden on Rainy Days:
1. Develop some sheltered seating. Spring showers are a natural part of the season. By building a gazebo, you can stay outdoors and enjoy the sound of the rain without getting wet. If you’re working with more limited space, install a large umbrella over your chair. It will help protect you from the sun as well as the rain. Sometimes just spending time in a light rain can be so refreshing.
2. Design a room with a view. When stormy days keep you inside, you can still keep your garden in sight. Meditate by a window where you get a good view of your yard. Storms bring on another whole mind set, and a sky that is dancing with lightening and the clap of thunder does have much to offer when you are where you can safely enjoy watching
Your spring garden can make your meditation practice more pleasant and productive. No matter what the weather brings, use the natural beauty of the outdoors to help calm your mind. It can both help you set the pace for the coming day, and relax you after the day is over.
At first you may feel that you don’t have time to stop and spend a few minutes alone with nature, but you will soon learn that those few minutes will help you accomplish much more during the remaining hours of the day.
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