We gardeners are generally a contemplative bunch--patient enough to experiment with different groupings of plants, different locations, different varieties. We're prepared for failure and pretty well versed in how to learn from it. We can get blissfully lost in yanking weeds or sowing seeds, in thinning seedlings or dividing plants.
But sometimes, I find that I'm getting too "micro" in my garden--concentrating so fully on the placement of my sage plant that I forget to see how green and lush the whole bed is getting. God is in the details, to be sure, and there's beauty and meaning in the mindful, "small" time I spend in my garden. But the real "wow" factor in my garden is the way it is growing and changing even from one day to the next. That's something I don't want to miss.
So that's why I've instituted a new practice--at least once a day, I circumambulate (meditatively walk around) my property, taking in the big, beautiful picture of all the things that are growing here, feel gratitude for the part I've played in helping them grow, and notice the changes--both good and bad--that these living things are undergoing just outside my door.
I walk clockwise around the house, which became a happy coincidence when I remembered that in Buddhism, sacred sites are circumambulated in a clockwise direction--a nod to the sun's course across the sky. Traditional Buddhist sites are circumambulated 3 times, but I get enough funny looks from my neighbors already....
If you want to stick to tradition, keep the object of "veneration" (or meditation) to your right. Walk with slow intention, letting your eyes softly scan the object/bed/plant/bloom/vegetable and just breathing it in. Let yourself smile if you see something exciting. Look closer if you see something worrisome. And then, when you do it again tomorrow, see what has changed.
Most importantly, look--don't do. Don't yank weeds, don't dig, don't deadhead, don't take any action more complicated than gently touching a leaf or peeking under a blossom. There's plenty of time for work later--the purpose of circumambulating is to take in your garden just as it is.
Stay tuned for my next post in which I share the sites I saw on today's circuit.
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