Garden

On Self-Love and Finding Inner Peace

I would like to super-seed this post with an excerpt from my own personal journal detailing the fear it feels to move to a new city alone. See, I believe we are not little Alcatraz islands, fending buoyancy separately, but each a plot of soil, a sprung lily, or the beat of the sun that make-up the entirety of this celestial garden, a oneness of extravagance.

I moved willingly and with excitement, I built a life and have lived it for the past month independently and in separation. Yet detaching has sent my whole nervous system into a spasm. I feel like I am about to die all the time. Everyone knows this but the person experiencing guttural pain. I feel like an octopus, arms jetting in every direction, blinded by its own ink of darkness, reaching out to grab hold to cold, wet nothingness, only to be engulfed within the strength of adjoining limbs.

Total control in unison with the empty hearts of embodiment, I swim prey in the oceanic forest of watching eyes, chopping off my sea legs for a simpler two. I trip constantly over unseen roots that bear traps and mines on the field which make up my path- palms to dirt, chest to obstruction, I trip over and over again, running from an unknown predator. Sometimes I think I create that predator, and mask myself as different kinds of prey.

That summer I moved, I remember understanding that nothing grows within us unless we allow it. Yet still, I would scream to those closest to me in protest: “WATERMELON” (water my lawn? water my melons. water you even saying…) Self-awareness wasn’t a specialty, and one that I’ve grown to realize isn’t really anybody’s plot of land.

Something Eastern religions and psychologists alike protest and subsequently derive interpretation from is this: You are separate from me. You are separate from your thoughts.

You are not part of I.

This dichotomy between thought and action, a wall self-built, bridged by parts of the ego, has been shaven over time, sanded down by the infliction from seeds of trauma and heartbreak. It is here, in the wake of these moments, that we become our thoughts, lending to reflexive action, thoughts developmental psychologists such as Piaget, Erickson, Jung, and Freud, to name a few, have studied in depth.

In the strictest sense, we cannot actually think about life and reality at all, because this would have to include thinking about thinking, thinking about thinking about thinking, and so ad infinitum. One can only attempt a rational, descriptive philosophy of the universe on the assumption that one is totally separate from it. But if you and your thoughts are part of this universe, you cannot stand outside them to describe them. This is why all philosophical and theological systems must ultimately fall apart. To “know” reality you cannot stand outside it and define it; you must enter into it, be it, and feel it. – Alan Watts

With our ego in control, sculpting our malleable shell of clay that mends the envision of the artists’ hand beneath which it lies, it is here we choose to detach in order to flourish, just as the Earth has done effortlessly before us.

Yet, discomfort with growth plants a seed in an already futile belly.

If someone plants a dead seed in a nourished garden, it will not grow.

It will not infect the other plants we still choose to water, but will rot and harden into clay beneath itself- a pit amid an otherwise tended garden.

But if we plant that same seed in an empty, nutrient-barren garden, we will stare at that dead seed as it withers beneath the cracked and hardened surface of our bed.

To bring life back into my own, I will pick your roses out of your garden to fill mine.

But we all know flowers die once plucked.

And both our gardens will die as we stare across the fence, remembering how much we enjoyed the beauty and life of the once thriving sea of bloom.

Your mind is like a piece of land planted with many different kinds of seeds: seeds of joy, peace, mindfulness, understanding, and love; seeds of craving, anger, fear, hate, and forgetfulness. These wholesome and unwholesome seeds are always there, sleeping in the soil of your mind. The quality of your life depends on the seeds you water. If you plant tomato seeds in your gardens, tomatoes will grow. Just so, if you water a seed of peace in your mind, peace will grow. When the seeds of happiness in you are watered, you will become happy. When the seed of anger in you is watered, you will become angry. The seeds that are watered frequently are those that will grow strong. – Thich Nhat Hanh in Anh-Huong & Hanh, 2006, 22

Detach. Let things fall apart. Find inner-peace in the stillness of now, of our present moment. Peas, lettuce tell those you love that they’ve bean on your mind. That your heart beets for them. And finally, use your tulips to kiss their tulips.

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