What Gardens Teach Us
Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
The month of May brings with it the excitement and joyousness of spring. As the snows of winter fade into the past, May brings hope that spring has finally arrived. Signs of its arrival are everywhere. We see the spectacular colors bursting forth from flowers, bushes, and trees. The world looks like a painting, with rich hues of red, pink, orange, yellow, blue, violet, purple, and white blossoms, surrounded by a variety of green-colored grasses, stems, and leaves. Birds singing joyously as they flit about from flower to flower and tree to tree. The luscious fragrance of apple trees in blossom fills our senses.
With the warmer weather, we shed our coats and can feel the cool breezes of spring against our skin. It is a time of happiness and joy with hopes of wonderful days ahead. There are many spiritual lessons we can learn from the blossoming gardens that will benefit us on our spiritual journey. They teach us how we can nurture the seed of our soul so that it may blossom and shine in its pristine glory.
Nurturing the Seed of the Soul
In the gardens of the world, seeds need fertile soil, water, air, and sunlight to grow. The soul is like a spiritual seed that lies dormant within us, until we nurture it. The seed lies dormant at the seat of the soul, between and behind the two eyebrows.
When we learn to meditate on the inner Light and Sound of God, our soul experiences God’s love for itself, and the sleeping seed of our soul is awakened. Through connection with the current of Light and Sound, the seed of the soul is watered. This current is the divine power emanating from God that brought all creation into existence. It reverberates in all forms of life, from humans, to animals, to plants. It is lying within us, but we do not see or hear it until our sleeping soul is awakened.
As a plant needs sunlight to grow, so does our soul need to focus on the inner Light. Once connected to the Light and Sound within, we need to concentrate on it to experience spiritual growth. Daily meditation is the daily sunlight our soul needs to grow.
Plants also need the carbon dioxide that we give off. Then, the plants utilize the carbon dioxide and water and give off their waste, which is the oxygen we require to breathe. Similarly, the seed of the soul needs the breath of God’s grace to help it grow. This divine grace is the boost that helps our soul soar into the spiritual realms beyond. Thus, we can nurture the seed of the soul by sitting in meditation. There are also many life lessons we can learn from the garden. These lessons help us grow and thrive on our spiritual journey.
The Art of Patience
Once we learn to meditate, we need to practice it diligently. Unfortunately, many grow impatient when they do not see instant results. We live in an instant society. We want instant coffee, instant pudding, and instant oatmeal. We want our computers to boot within microseconds or we get impatient. When we plant a garden, we expect to see the sprouts within a day. If we do not see the sprouts shoot up immediately, we become impatient. Similarly, when we are growing the inner garden of the soul, we need to keep tending it, day after day, with meditation, even when we do not instantly see the dramatic results we want.
Yet, with patience and diligence, we are ultimately rewarded when we start seeing new growth. When we see the sprouts of Light shoot forth within and hear the faint whispers of the inner Sound calling to us, we realize that our efforts sprinkled with God’s grace are bearing fruit. Then, the steady growth of the plant reveals that all was not wasted. Our efforts have borne fruit and we grow spiritually.
We do not see the seeds in the ground through the long winter, yet with proper care, they sprout into buds and then flowers. Similarly, we may not see the fruits of our meditation right away. But with diligent practice, we will find that the blossoms will appear. We will be blessed with the inner vision and inner hearing of the divine Light and Sound that will carry us into the inner realms until our soul merges back into God.
Trust in God
The plants and trees in the outer gardens of the world cannot move or act on their own. They cannot talk, so they cannot ask for what they want. They cannot walk, so they cannot go out on their own to get what they need. They are planted in one place with no ability to communicate, move, or take action. They are at the mercy of Nature and God. Yet, everything is provided for them. God provides them with soil, sunlight, air, and water. Whether they are in a tended garden or out in the wild, God has provided for them for ages. If God can provide for every blade of grass on this planet, can’t we trust that God is going to provide for us also?
From the garden we learn the lesson of trust in God. There is a plan for each of us. When we do not realize how much of our life is provided by God’s plan for us, we spend a tremendous amount of time worrying over things that are bound to happen anyway. If we could learn the lesson of trust in God, much energy that we waste in worrying could be used for more productive endeavors.
Do Your Best and Leave the Rest
Since we do not know what is planned and what is not planned at our physical level, we need to do our best in all circumstances. We need to take the best possible action, but then leave the results to God. Even if we do our best, but another result was destined, then we need to let go. We can be confident we did our best, but God may have another plan for us. When something is not going our way, we need to accept that there is another plan for us and let go. We did what we could, but we should leave the rest in God’s hands.
In a garden, when we have given our seed fertile soil, water, sunlight, and air, we know we have done our best. How the plant grows then is not in our hands. It is in the hands of God. If the plant does not turn out the color we wanted, the size we wanted, or the shape we wanted, we know there was something beyond our control. We do not blame ourselves for we know we did our part. Then, we know that God had a different plan for that plant. Similarly, we do our best in all circumstances, and then leave the results to God. In this way, we free ourselves from blame, guilt, or regret. We need to do our best and trust in God to take care of us.
Lesson of Humility
From the plants we learn the lesson of humility. If we watch the trees and bushes on a windy day, what do we see? We find that trees that resist the wind, crack and split. Trees that bend low to the ground with the wind do not break. When the wind passes, the trees spring back up to their upright positions. Often when challenged by the winds of other people or winds of change, we push back. We resist or fight back. We get into arguments. We may even push back physically and get into a physical fight. We may push back verbally and say things that cause altercations or a vicious exchange of words. We may even keep quiet, but mentally go into an outburst of negative thoughts towards the person, which the person may not directly hear but can feel through the strong vibrations of anger we spew out. Thus, we intensify their initial attack with our own response, and the cycle of violence continues. We should learn to observe how those trees, bushes, and flowers that go with the flow of the wind are able to prevent themselves from breaking and cracking. This is the secret of humility.
Let us learn from the garden the secret of nurturing the seed of our soul with meditation on the Light and Sound of God. Let us learn from the garden the value of patience, trust, and humility. We will then experience the eternal springtime as we bask in God’s blissful garden.