I am not a farmer. It is not my thing. But I do like to garden and spend time cultivating earth, building posts, and doing all the things necessary to get what I want out of that garden. Unlike other people, we do not depend on the garden, but it is a nice supplement to our groceries. As well, there is nothing quite like picking a vegetable and throwing it on your plate, especially a tomato for a BLT.
But there is something about gardening that is quite meditative for me. I don’t do it for the food, which is nice. Rather, I do it to be in tune with nature, with our earth. I do it because it slows me down. I cannot rush a garden no matter how much I want. And when it does start to grow I cannot slow it down. It goes as it will and it makes me go at that speed too. I must follow its cycles, be in tune with it, nurture it, spend time with it, almost dance with it, if you will. This allows for a new type of world to emerge: one where time is not spent rushing from one thing to the next, but cultivating and sustaining life.
So, gardening is one of those things that takes me beyond me. I am no longer stuck in my own crap but have extended myself. I am beyond by being one with earth. I can look at the garden and know its needs, whether that be for weeds to be pulled or water to be had or more sun. I can’t always meet these needs, but I am mindful and aware.
And this helps me as I cope with my mental illness. I have noticed that having things that are dependent upon me cultivating them helps me tremendously. When I need to do something it makes me feel better to get it done. So, when I needed to build a TV stand, that helped. When I need to work in the yard, that can be a help. And when the garden needs me I need it as well. It brings my mental state to a point where life is simple and not running. It is a meditative place where pulling a weed is like doing mantra and where all work is, in the words of Brother Lawrence, “practicing the presence of the divine.”