As a longtime student of yoga, I believe that the most satisfying life is one that is lived with deep and compassionate self-awareness. Discovering this awareness is our most meaningful life’s work, and the most direct path to this awareness is through the practice of Yoga: The Yoga that teaches us to be present with our breath, our physical body, our thoughts and our emotions. The Yoga that strengthens as it balances and opens our physical bodies, our heart and our mind while teaching us to live with grace, compassion and awareness. Practicing this Yoga on the mat enables us to apply its principles off the mat into our daily lives.
During a silent meditation retreat held at The Society of the Four Arts Botanical Gardens in Palm Beach, Florida, we were given the opportunity to eat our lunches in silence anywhere in the garden. Feeling a strong connection with Asia, that is the section I chose. The Asian horticulture is a lush haven, so different from the Florida flora. It is devoted to beauty and serenity. Having spent two years living and traveling throughout Japan, China, Thailand and Indonesia, it felt easy to shed my worldly cares as I sat on a bench in the Asian garden. Here, I was able to listen. Really listen. I closed my eyes and I could actually hear the slight cracking of the bamboo tree trunks and the trickling of the pond while the feisty Koi splashed about. Walking among the flowers planted throughout the Asian garden transported me back to the amazing gardens of my journeys throughout Asia. Then I came upon a plaque which read:
To the Chinese, the making of a garden is the effort of the individual to attain unity with the universe. In its inception, the garden was a retreat. A quiet space in which one found relief from tension. In China, it was essentially an aid to contemplation.
Exalted by beauty, lulled by its harmony, the Chinese were able to comprehend truths beyond ordinary perception.
In the design for contentment, which is the basis of Chinese philosophy, every individual possesses that which in his own mind is a garden.
The Chinese feel that unless a man has a garden, he scarcely grasps the reason for existence.
Exactly!! Discovering and cultivating my inner garden is my work. Each of us has a sacred space within us. When we care for our inner-self by eating healthy foods, drinking clean water, and applying positive thinking, our outer world reflects this. So create what you want the world to see and begin cultivating your Soul Garden today.
Photo courtesy of Andrea Blakesberg Photography