I do both. I learned to meditate a long time ago, and I have been gardening even longer, but I never knew until yesterday how interchangeable the two were.
Yesterday, I bought a bunch of Sweet Georgia Onion sets. There were at least 50 onion sets in the bunch. My garden is about half empty with mostly greens, herbs, and lettuce in there now. I wasn't planning to plant any onions; it was an impulse buy.
I had tilled the whole garden about a month ago, and it was time to do it again as even when the garden is fallow, the weeds grow. In fact without my pulling a few every day, they do much better in the winter.
So, I picked an area, and hand-tilled it with a hoe and something called a garden weasel. Then I raked out all the pulled up weeds, and smoothed the whole area up. Then I got down on my hands and knees and planted each onion set buy digging a small hole with my fingers, putting the set in, and moving back the dirt to hold the plant up.
I kept moving backwards and would smooth out where my knees had depressed the soil. When I finished you could see all the plants in a grid pattern, and while none was in perfect rows, it all looked nice. I got out the hose and let a fine mist soak the soil until I figured the moisture had made it down to the bottom of each plant.
What got me thinking about meditation was the fact that when I was all finished planting and was about to start watering, I realized that I felt great. No aches and no pains from the work. In fact, the time just sort of flew right on buy. There wasn't any of those usual thoughts such as, "How many more are there?" nor was I trying to hurry to just get it done. I was simply one with the garden.
That got me thinking. When I meditate, I do get to relax my whole body, and doctors tell us that meditation is a great way to release stress, but when I think about it, gardening does the same thing for me, with the added bonus of actually getting something done.
Now I wish that was true with all the work I do, and I do really enjoy woodworking, but gardening has something extra special about it. I don't know if it is the soil or the plants or the anticipation. Maybe it is just the magic that seems to happen when you put a seed or a small plant in contact with soil, water, and sun and then you sit back and see what happens.
No matter what it is, it is very powerful and enjoyable. Just like meditation, gardening takes away all your worries and stress, if only for a little while.
I can tell you this though, from now on I won't think of it as going out to work in the garden; I'll be thinking, "I'll go out there and meditate, and then see what I get done."
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