There are many hidden treasures in a food garden. For me, one of the doorways to finding them is through contemplation, sitting time with no physical garden activity.
Contemplation time is important for building a relationship to your garden sanctuary. You get to observe in slow way and appreciate the diverse beauty evolving each day.
There is an energetic transfer between all living things in the garden during this time of contemplation. The plants respond to this energy and over time, the garden will become more productive, healthy and well balanced. You may even begin to think you have a green thumb. People visiting your garden will notice a feeling of beauty, something they can't put their finger on.
As a food gardener, its important to become conscious of the garden being a reflection of yourself. The love and attention you provide it can't be purchased from the nursery in a fertiliser or a pesticide. Of course, you still need to work physically in the garden, but the world is also made of up of feelings, thoughts and non-physical stuff. Biodynamic gardening methods work quite strongly with this non-physical element. The gardener becomes conscious of the cosmic and energetic forces at play in the garden and works with them, taking advantage of all that is available.
The benefit of contemplation time for the garden is great. My own experience is that the benefits are even more powerful for the gardener. This time of reflection can be used to concentrate thought on certain aspects of the garden, as well as general meditative activities. You will notice a calming, especially if it is done in the mornings before you head off to work. Things may be revealed to you in these reflection times that would not become obvious in your busy daily activities. Hidden treasures helping to build your health, wisdom and open up new opportunities.
I have found that by allocating time (normally about 20 minutes) to this contemplation each day, I can achieve more during the day because I feel balanced, so I actually gain time. A strange concept.
One of my favourite meditative activities in the garden is the seed meditation. The primary aim is to recognise the non-physical factors at work in the seed, however as we work through this explanation, you will see it can also be used to reflect on many aspects of life.
Sit quietly and imagine a seed being placed in the ground, say a pea seed. Then think about the whole process of the seed going back to seed in the following steps:
1. The seed is in a dormant sleep-like state, but it is alive. There is an energy force surrounding the seed just as it is with you each night.
2. When moisture and heat are right, the seed will germinate causing a root and stem to come out of the seed. This is a chaotic state of change for the seed, a time of rapid transformation where chaos leads to order. This may be a common state for you, but often you may only think of the chaos.
3. The stem comes out into the air and connects with the sun. It now draws on all the forces around it, growing and strenthening its life force. The plant must compete with other plants around it and needs care to grow to its full potential. Just as you grow and change each day and are subject to forces around, some leading to growth and others placing 'weeds' into your being.
4. The plant begins to flower, to bring something beautiful into the world. We all have this opportunity in our lives.
5. The plant moves into another state of chaos and transformation as the seed is produced after the flowering. This represents the start of new life for the plant. In our lives, we keep passing through stages of transformation, every one of them leads us to a greater knowing of ourselves, even if we are not conscious of this.
6. The body of the plant begins to die off and the seed remains. It dries and carries the imprint for the new life of the plant. The life force around the seed reduces, but it is still alive. Each experience we have adds to our seed, what we carry forward in our lives.
So you can see at each of those points during the seed meditation, you have the opportunity to reflect on life in a meaningful way. I find its best each day to extend my concentration only on those points where it relates to my feelings being revealed at the time. The treasure of the seed enters your thinking when you relate the process of the seed to your life's ups and downs each day. You do not need to be botannist to understand how a seed works, simply work it through your thinking as best you can.
You may also find new ideas come to you during your garden contemplation time. My business at www.cityfoodgrowers.com.au evolved from my garden meditations.
Peter Kearney, www.cityfoodgrowers.com.au