“I pledge allegiance to the soil…”
– Gary Snyder, American poet
What better way to celebrate good weather than by taking on a little gardening project? Remember the delight you felt as a child the first time you saw a seed germinate? In the midst of our crowded lives, we forget: Gardening is as simple as it’s always been. You plant a seed, take care of it, watch it grow and smile with delight.
Gardening is the basis of life. The entire world is a garden, and Mother Nature, the ultimate landscaper. From her, humankind has learned to plant, water and harvest, both for food and for pleasure.
The Japanese have been master gardeners for over 1000 years. In Japan, gardening incorporates art, science, engineering, history and philosophy. But when it comes down to it, even the experts garden for a reason that’s universal: Gardens bring nature into our busy lives.
You don’t have to be a landscape architect to reap the benefits of gardening. Simple things like potted plants, window or planter boxes, and hanging baskets can be wonderful ways to nurture a garden – even if you don’t have a yard.
Gardening has both emotional and spiritual rewards. As gardens beautify the environment, they can also be spiritual oases for relaxation and rejuvenation.
The benefits listed below are numerous:
- Gardening is good exercise. It gets us outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
- The work is peaceful and quiet, heightening our awareness of the environment and ourselves.
- In many ways, working in a garden is like meditating. Digging, weeding, planting and pruning are engrossing activities – a relief for the busy mind.
- Working with soil and plants also helps to build our connection with nature, enriching our appreciation of its gifts as we enrich the earth.
- Gardening is a sensory experience. It nourishes our need to touch things, to work with our hands and to literally get into the nitty-gritty. Our labor comes to fruition with colorful, fragrant flowers, fruit, vegetables and herbs – a feast for the senses.
- Gardening is educational. It can teach us about plants, flowers, rocks, insects and other animals. It offers us a greater appreciation for the mystery of life as it springs forth from the soil and grows at different rates.
- Gardening can also be a creative outlet, giving us the satisfaction of having made something – not just anything, mind you, but a living thing – yes, life itself.
- Gardening enables us to create sacred space: a space to cultivate life and inner reflection.
The philosopher Osho advises that any human who wants to get in touch with him or herself spend time in nature. So get out there and tend to your inner self! Gardening is a truly holistic activity that benefits earth, mind, body and spirit. When you garden, you actively engage in the circle of life, sowing the seeds of happiness for yourself and the world around you.
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