Poets and philosophers often compare the mind to a garden.
In keeping with this idea, you can use meditation to cultivate healthy thoughts.
These are three sample meditations using garden themes – planting seeds, observing the change of seasons, and welcoming the harvest.
Meditation Using Planting Seeds as Inspiration
- Focus on causes. We all want better results, but we have to start by putting the right causes into place. Imagine you’re planting seeds for a loving marriage or career success just like you’d plant seeds for roses.
- Explore the relationship between cause and effects. 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 son get better grades or befriended a lonely neighbour.
- Focus on that feeling. Enjoy the delight and gratification of knowing you brightened someone’s day. It will help you become more convinced that feeling good depends on your actions.
- Make a daily resolution. Hold on to that inspiration. Come up with a practical task for creating better causes. It could be as simple as letting another commuter onto the bus before you each morning or sending an email to the former co-worker you promised to keep in touch with.
Meditation Using the Change of Seasons
- Observe your surroundings. Take a close look around you. Think 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 this is likely to teach you that profound change is inevitable. Imagine yourself staying calm through the cycle of rising and falling.
- Monitor your reaction to daily events. Try to apply this lesson to various situations. Experiment with maintaining a neutral disposition whether you hit a red or green traffic light.
Meditation With a Theme about Welcoming the Harvest
- Think back in time. For generations, most people earned their living off the land. Naturally, the harvest was a time for special celebration. Put yourself in their place and visualise what it would be like to gather the crops you raised. Talk with your grandparents to ask about their memories or watch movies about farming families to get you in the mood.
- Count your blessings. Whatever our circumstances, we are all gathering what we planted. List some of the good things in your life, including your loving family, meaningful work, sufficient food, sound mental and physical health, and spiritual realisations.
- Thank others. 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 all on your own. Reflect on how your loved ones and even strangers contribute to your well-being. Say some words of thanks mentally to yourself and to others whenever you get the opportunity.
- Give something back. 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 your kids 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 mind.
You can use also this quiet time as an opportunity to focus on what you want to harvest by the end of this brand new year.
What ‘seeds’ can you plant today, or what preparations can you make in the soil of your life for those seeds to grow in, that will make a positive difference to your life over the next 12 months?
Could you start preparing for that low-carb diet you’ve been meaning to try by spending some time researching recipes to replace the high-carb favourites that you know you will miss?
What about researching cheaper mobile phone providers so you can switch tariff and put the money saved each month towards financing another goal you want to achieve?
So start right now and even a few small seeds sown today, could reap a bountiful harvest by the end of the next 12 months!