A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.
― James Allen, As a Man Thinketh
Poets, philosophers, and mystics often compare the mind to a garden. In keeping with this idea, you can use meditation to cultivate healthy thoughts and manifest beneficial situations into your daily life.
Here are three meditation outlines using garden themes – planting seeds, observing the change of the seasons, and welcoming the harvest.
Planting Seeds Meditation
Focus on causes.
We all want better results, but we have to start by putting the right causes into place. Imagine you are planting seeds for a positive situation or personality trait that you desire, just as you would plant seeds for roses.
Explore the relationship between cause and effect.
Survey your life for pleasant and unpleasant experiences. Look at how your actions contributed to what happened and how you reacted.
Pick one example.
Narrow in on a time when your efforts paid off. Maybe you helped your child get better grades, helped a coworker succeed with a difficult project, or befriended a lonely neighbor.
Focus on that feeling.
Enjoy the delight and gratification of knowing you brightened someone’s day. It will help you realize that feeling good depends on your actions.
Make a daily resolution.
Determine what practical tasks you can do to create better causes. They could be as simple as letting another commuter onto the bus before you each morning or emailing the former coworker you promised to keep in touch with.
Change of Seasons Meditation
Observe your surroundings.
Take a close look at your environment. Think about how different everything looks covered by snow or dried out by the summer sun. Even if you live someplace where the weather is mostly stable year round, there will still be subtle signs of change.
Consider the transitions in your own life.
Ponder the shifts that take place internally. You’ve grown from an embryo into an adult. For example, you might now love the same broccoli you used to secretly feed to the dog when you were little.
Accept gains and losses.
All of this will teach you that change is inevitable, a fundamental characteristic of life. Imagine yourself staying calm through the cycle of rising and falling.
Monitor your reaction to daily events.
Try applying this lesson to various situations. Experiment with maintaining a neutral disposition whether you hit a red or green traffic light.
Welcoming the Harvest Meditation
- Think back in time.
- Count your blessings.
- Thank others.
- Give something back.
For generations, most people earned their living off the land. Naturally, harvest time was cause for special celebration. Put yourself in their place and visualize what it is like to gather the crops you grew. Ask your grandparents about their memories or watch movies about farming families to get you in the mood.
Whatever our circumstances, we are all gathering what we planted. Visualize the good things in your life; for example, your loving family, meaningful work, sufficient food, sound mental and physical health, and spiritual realizations.
Our ancestors helped build each other’s barns because they knew they needed each other to survive. Be honest about how little you could accomplish completely on your own. Reflect on how your loved ones and even strangers contribute to your wellbeing. Think some words of gratitude when a positive event occurs and whenever you become inspired.
Devote yourself to creating a good harvest for your future. Evaluate your actions according to how they strengthen your abilities, family, and community. Make a vow to spend more time with friends and family or do more volunteer work.
Your mind is a garden where you decide what to plant and grow. Pick a comfortable spot, watch your breath, and guide your thoughts toward tending a peaceful and constructive mind.