Planting our Garden

Life as most of us experience, or perhaps, all of us experience it contains some amount of suffering. It is also very likely that there is no way out of our suffering, and that it is best for us to drop this struggle against it. There is no winning. The more we fight, the more we sink. There may be occasional moments we are removed, whether they are healthy or not (drinking, drugs, lustful sex). This can play a big part in our ability to sustain ourselves in the long run. Will the escape just be a temporary leave from our prison, or will it be a stepping stone out of it? That stepping stone out is place by loving ourselves despite the pain we feel inside.

It is imperative to understand that loving ourselves does not mean that the pain will go away at that very moment. I repeat, loving your SELF will not ensure that the pain will go away immediately. But, what it DOES ensure is that you will have made space for positivity to flourish within you, instead of partaking in behaviors that are likely to perpetuate your suffering. Like a good gardener, the more we tend to our garden, the more likely it is to resemble what we want.

Say for instance you like Kale. You are a kale fanatic! But there is no clear space to plant Kale in your yard because there are so many weeds. These weeds are blocking you from what you want. But, with some sweat, blisters, sore muscles, and tedious attentiveness you make some room. It may not be a fun process — in fact, it might even be painful, but you’ve cleared a space for the beloved Kale. And how sweet it is to be planting into the ground, exactly what you wish.

Or, the opposite of this option would be to ignore your desires, and allow the weeds to go to seed, multiplying in number… Until your garden is not a garden, but instead a place of squandered potential. All you’ve got is potential, but no action to achieve it.

I find that my mind is no different than a garden in this way. I can let the “weeds” in my mind cloud my thought process and keep me from what I truly want in life. I can either sit with my self and tend to it, weeding out those little stickers that crop up, or I can not. There will be times of pain in this process. Yes, oh yes, there will. But, if it is the path of humility and compassion that I am walking, I will be led to something far more infinite than I could ever imagine. And yes, at first, it is difficult to have compassion and faith when, in life, we cannot see our end goal…and sadness and pain feel far from anything pleasurable to “work” toward.

Why would anyone in their right mind be working with the self, sitting with the self, observing the self, if all it yields is pain, sorrow? Good question. Understanding that there is no guarantee for anything in life, the answer is: because this is the way out. Why would anyone in their right mind work on the garden, knowing that they will develop blisters, sore muscles, and spend hours doing the most tedious work? Because it leads to something they love. And the things in life that are worth anything, require us to experience these blessed hardships.

Imagine the person who refuses to work their garden because they don’t want to develop aches and pains. Deep down, this person really would love to plant a beautiful floral garden, but because of the difficulties they must go through to obtain it, they ignore it by staying occupied with work, TV/sports/movie (entertainment), and other such things. Each season that passes, the floral garden dream gets further. Weeds proliferate, and their inspiration dissipates. This person may not be miserable, but, there is a good chance that they hold a certain emptiness within them — for the spot reserved for what they truly wish for in life.

Obviously, what you wish for in life can be anything. It doesn’t have to be a garden. It can be a new career, a new hobby, or a way of communicating emotions. You name the action that sparks joy within you…long-standing, healthy joy. Joy that comes from the heart. And if it is met by fear of the pain, blisters, and hardships that accompany it, then compassion must be allowed to flow in. And, at times, the most compassionate thing we can do is keep on moving through that pain, seeking to understand every possible aspect of it, having the trust that we will soon have a place within us to plant exactly what it is that we want.

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