A New Type of Garden

Devastation. Hopelessness. Anger. Stuckness.
Suddenly I was being trampled on, stampeded by, completely taken over with these feelings and all of the thoughts that go with them.

In Machelle’ Wright’s book, Behaving As If The God In All Life Matters, she writes about the importance of partnership with nature. And she defines nature as anything that has form, from computers to forests and everything in between.

One of the things I do, when I am hit like this, is exercise. So I went for a run. And in true Buddhist form, I allowed the feelings to be inside of me. I saw how much I wanted them all to disappear, but my inner wisdom guided me to receive them. And to receive them. And to receive them some more.

It was a gorgeous cool July morning, the clouds heavy with potential rain. The birds sang, chiming in with the bullfrogs, and the solid silence of the Rail Trail.

As I continued to receive these feelings, I heard, “put them in a garden.” Since nature is defined as anything that has form, I suddenly saw a huge wild garden, filled with feelings, instead of plants. In the center, they were entwined with each other. Hope with hopelessness, Devastation with Creation, Anger with Calm, and Stuckness with Flow. And stemming out from the center, there were large areas where they separated.

“Give to the part of this garden, the separated negative feelings, let them grow wild and unhindered. To the rest of the garden, nurture the feelings you want.”

I allowed for the wildness of the negative, (they looked like the dark sky I was running under) they were actually beautiful, kind of like letting the wild plant Bittersweet to grow, a destructive plant that entwines its leaves around other plants and chokes them to death-but left alone, it becomes a gorgeous entangled bush.

And then I allowed for the positive-the Creation, Hope, Calm, and Flow and as I paid attention to these, I could also bring in the wild negative, because it now had it’s place in this incredible garden.

Embracing both, I was led to the center, where the feelings were entwined with each other. And there, I was pulled down deep into the earth, where the roots formed. Here it was deeply peaceful, without thought or feeling. A quiet place that did not yet have the physical sensation of either feeling.

Here, I felt I had real choice. I stood at the root, and chose to experience the more positive feelings, while promising to acknowledge the wild dark.

And when I came up, I realized, once again, that our negative feelings are precious. If we can allow them to be as they are, they lead us to some very special places.