Of all the books on my shelf that I reached back to read, this book fit the moment. The Meditative Gardener – Cultivating Mindfulness of Body, Feelings and Mind is worth the re-read. Most books I review become part of my reference library or I find a fellow gardener to share it with. This is not one of those books to give away.
From time to time, there are words that suggest actions. These words tend to have me “all up in my feelings”. Cheryl has words that echo in my mind and cause me to reflect inwardly. Particularly because this year. I will not have the opportunity to #resetrenewrestore in my usual manner. My annual pleasure of choosing a faraway place, commit to seeing all of the gardens, and acting like a local has been revised. Cheryl Wilfong has helped me revise my mindset by immersing myself all in this book.
During this time of unintentional pausing, making tie to meditate allows me to feel ALL of my senses. It is mind blowing! Cheryl Wilfong is not just a Psychologist, but a Meditation Practitioner, and a Master Gardener, as well. Gardening is a great way to reduce and release stress. Meditating only enhances feelings of peace, as we consider how we garden.
Cheryl begins by using the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as the hardscaping for this book. The act of connecting us with our inner feelings as gardeners is important. Simple instructions provided by Cheryl asks the reader to choose one of the contemplations provided in the text. Readers can choose one daily, weekly or monthly. Choosing a contemplation enables the reader to practice mindfulness in the garden.
There are two mental tools that Cheryl advises us to carry into the garden. Mindfulness of the body is number one. This tool allows us to touch on all of our senses as we garden.
Goodwill towards the garden, as well as the gardener, is the second tool. In short , this translates into gardening for joy. Cheryl reminds us to garden simply for the joy, not perfection or overabundance. Simply garden for the joy of being in the garden.
Whispering phrases of love and acceptance fertilizes our existence. Phrases like “May I feel safe”, May I feel happy” or “May I abide in well being ” all affect how we garden. By repeating phrases such as these, we harness the energy found in our minds. One of my favorite phrases is “May I feel safe”. I find myself repeating this important phrase daily.
THE ART OF MEDITATION
Cheryl suggests many options for meditating. As I read this book, an awareness came over me causing me to think of how I meditate. The innocent ways I engage with nature are a form of meditation. As a child growing up, I spent summers in the garden just laying amidst the flowers. I would stare up at the clouds and look through some of the petals on the blooms. Allowing my mind to wander, my extremities to feel the warmth of the sun, and my nose to capture all the scents wafting in through the air. I did not know at the time, I was practicing a meditative mindset in the garden.
Meditation in the garden should be an easy practice. I often wonder if my parents knew this as they taught us how to garden? From selection, sowing, watering to nurturing a simple seed. We were encouraged to be optimistic, to care and to give. The garden is the natural place to learn, reflect and of course…meditate. There are many different ways to meditate in the garden.
It is hard for me to actually say what the best part of the book is after reading it. The entire book was informative. All of the meditations can be applied to our daily life. One chapter that I really spent time on was THE ROOTS OF STRESS: Greed, Aversion, and Delusion. I found this chapter to be enlightening, informative and insightful on many different levels.
There are many topics covered in the MIND -Mind and Body Contemplation segment of this book. Cheryl followed up with a chapter called CONTEMPLATIONS. This chapter allowed the reader to investigate things like aging, change, even karma.
A particular exercise that melted my heart was called A Bouquet of Joy. The reader was advised to pick flowers from the garden. Utilizing all the senses, the reader should not look at what is missing in the bouquet. Explore how the bouquet makes you feel inside. It is suggested that the reader share the bouquet.
This book is a must read, in my opinion, for those who garden for the pleasure of gardening. The enlightenment of the mind and senses is a bonus.
Today I meditate, reflect and embrace the beauty that surrounds me…in my garden. Do you meditate in your garden?
Teri, Cottage In the Courtby