The Relationship Between the Garden and the Gardener

by Michael Roads

There are many gardeners in the world, but few are outstanding. What is it that makes one particular gardener stand out from so many others? First and foremost, it is the relationship that gardener has with their garden. And it is a relationship! Some gardeners enjoy looking after the garden, and they have a very nice garden, while for many others – who do not actually qualify as gardeners – it is the bane of their life; mowing the lawn, hedge-trimming, pulling weeds – uh, pruning roses – ouch. Enough!

Let us be clear; you can be a very good gardener by following the books, and doing as they suggest. Repetition can make a person into a good gardener, learning the ropes, so to speak. It is not at all difficult to be a good gardener – but outstanding? That takes something extra; something beyond technique; something beyond knowledge; something beyond following a subconscious program of gardening success.

This is where the relationship truly come to the fore. Loving the garden, loving the land, loving the the plants; really loving Nature – this creates a conscious relationship with Nature. In this great relationship, the garden is your meeting place with Nature. But something extra is required. Nature lives in the eternal moment. Plants are not thinking about us, and their place in the world; they are simply growing and living in the moment. We think – as if you did not know! Unfortunately, we think our way out of the moment, we cannot think our way into it. This means, in effect, that while all natural life is consciously in the moment, humanity is so busy thinking, that we live subconsciously; we are rarely consciously conscious of being in the moment. We live subconsciously, Nature lives consciously. Sorry, but full consciousness and subconsciousness can never meet – not even in the garden. You cannot be subconsciously conscious!

You cannot subconsciously love Nature. In fact, you cannot subconsciously love. Love, true love, requires full consciousness. You cannot be a subconscious gardener, and love the garden. As a gardener, you may quarrel, or argue with your spouse, but never with the garden. For this type of gardener, the garden is a retreat, a refuge, a shelter from the stormy blasts! You may be a gardener who wants, and achieves, the most flower-filled garden in the street. Very nice, a good gardener; sorry, but not outstanding. You cannot be an outstanding gardener and use the garden as an outlet for your frustrations, or ambitions. Wrong energy. So let us leave all the various gardening types of people and focus on the outstanding gardener.

This is why I wrote Conscious Gardening. An outstanding gardener is fully involved with the garden all the time they are in it. Why is this so important? A garden is a large field-of-energy; you, also, are a field-of-energy. If this energy could be physically seen, it would appear as Light. When you go into a garden thinking of problems, or worrying, or angry, or any other negative distractions, your energy-field changes; you lower the intensity and quality of your Light-energy. This, in turn, has a negative affect on the energy-field of the garden; no chance of being an outstanding gardener.
When I was a young teenager in England, I met a lady in her nineties. She showed me her garden. It was one small garden in the middle of a row of terraced houses, each garden divided from the others by a very high brick wall. The sunlight struggled to find her garden, but for most of the year it was filled with an abundance of flowering plants. I was a keen gardener, and I knew there was not enough sun to get those plants into flower. But as I watched her, feeling the love she felt for her garden, I realized that she was the sun in her garden. I learned that when you love the garden and its plants, as she did, you can throw the rule book away. She was the first outstanding gardener I ever met. I never forgot her – or what she taught me.

One of the great lessons I have consciously learned from Nature in a garden, is about being-with, while doing-to. We get so busy, doing, doing, doing – all while thinking about our day. Doing-to, but not being-with! If you are pulling weeds, be aware of what you are doing – be-with it, and you will gradually become conscious of a greater connection with Nature. Nature speaks, but nobody is listening. We think hearing is listening; it is not. Listening takes place in the moment – but nobody’s home! Conscious gardening means that you are learning to be conscious in life, and your teacher is Nature. The garden is the meeting place, you are the student. Nature offers you the most wondrous relationship possible, taking you beyond the mundane and into the magnificent. All this, by developing a deep and creative relationship between the garden and the gardener.
Some people talk of the spirit of Nature; this is found as a higher energy in the gardens of the true garden lovers. These are the ‘green thumb’ people. Their gardens may be huge and beautiful, or a sprawl of seemingly untidy plants, but energy-wise, they have the X-factor. Equally, a garden may be tiny, as the lady I wrote of, but the relationship with the garden can be huge. When you can follow the intuitive ‘feelings’ you have as a gardener, placing plants in the ground where ‘they’ want to grow, you will be able to develop that precious Nature/human relationship to its full potential. This is when you become aware of the clear parallels between life and the garden. Pruning old, sprawling, thorny growth from the roses, equates as removing the tangle of prickly attitudes we have developed, hindering our growth. If we are conscious while we clear away unwanted weeds from the garden, allowing our plants the room to grow, we can also release the weeds of our old thinking habits, giving space for the expansion and growth of our own potential. All this . . . from the relationship between a garden and the gardener!

I continue to be an avid gardener, spending many happy and sweaty hours in my subtropical garden. Despite this, however, I am also growing flowers of a very different kind . . . human flowers! If I give the flowers of my garden sunshine and water, they open their buds and flower. People do not do this. Unlike a plant, people judge and criticize the buds of their potential, resulting in a humanity that is afraid to unfold and flower in a natural way.

I have found that if I teach a person the Truth of who they are in one of my 5-Day Intensives, and reveal to them the sheer beauty of their potential flowering, then, in the way of Nature, many of the human buds open and flower. I confess, to assist in the flowering of a person gives me an even greater thrill than witnessing the annual flowering of a favorite plant. I am truly blessed that I am able to be Michael, the gardener and Michael, the spiritual teacher. The essence of both expressions is unconditional Love.

About Michael Roads
Michael J. Roads is a farmer, a gardener, and the author of several gardening and metaphysical books, including Getting There, The Magic Formula, and Talking with Nature. In 1977, he started a community with a group of like-minded people, and he began conducting retreats and seminars in 1990.

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