127 – In the garden of our heart and mind

When you are asked to close your eyes and visualize a garden. What do you see? Pause and enjoy what you see. Is it dusk or dawn? Are you in summer or winter? Are the birds singing and is the fragrance of the flowers everywhere. Is it a winter garden? Is it covered in snow and the purity of the snow is blinding? Is there a pond there? Does it have fish, ducks, or swans? What is the light like? What is the colour of the sky? Or are you in a desert and there is sand everywhere? Or is it a place where everything is dead and barren? What is the state of your mind?

The mind is like a garden

Swami Sivananda compares our heart and mind to a garden. If we work hard in a garden we can grow flowers, fruits. We can remove the choking weeds and pests. We can water our garden carefully, and see the seedlings coming up. We are dedicated to the garden. When we become aware of removing our negative feelings likeanger, jealousy, delusion, pride and delusion we are working on the choking weeds and unwanted plants. Often our mind is overrun, with these emotions, assumptions and suspicions. There are different seasons and the weeds grow and trample the seeds. In the rains, they appear and then in the summer they disappear. However they are buried in the ground and are very sturdy. Even a mild drizzle enables them to come up.

Our apprehensions and doubts are like that. We have to work on our feelings and doubts. Each thought leads to a samskara. Our mental garden has to be de-weeded and the mental inflammation has to be evicted or healed. Then we become neutral and our garden is free of weeds and thorns. Similarly our heart is also influenced as our feelings turn into love and affection. We cease to be affected by our thoughts and we have a spiritual garden in our mind and heart. Swamiji says it is like cleaning our plate every time we eat in it. Our heart and mind have to remain detached and aware, filled with love for our fellow beings.

The practice

The first step is to become aware and to practice breath awareness. Close your eyes and become aware of your normal breathing. Then become aware of your inhalation and exhalation. Next count your breath backwards from 27 to 0. Counting is 27, I am breathing in and 27 I am breathing out. Make no errors and no effort. Let it be stress free. You will observe that when you do this several times in the day, you are calmer. The reason that you are calmer is that your misgivings, disquiet and uneasiness are reduced. You are not engaging with them. You are automatically tending to the garden of your mind and heart.

Aim Hrim Klim

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