Meditation is all the rage. But I would venture to say that if you are someone who enjoys time in the garden, you’ve been meditating all along.
My own loose definition of meditation is a state of being completely aware of, and involved in, the moment—alert to every detail, no matter how small. Meditation is also a mental refresher that helps you open up to whatever might come next. For me, it often brings about resolutions with little to no effort on my part.
Tending to the needs of your garden, getting a little dirt under your fingernails—in my opinion, this is the perfect scenario for a meditative state. The everyday upkeep of a thriving garden does not exactly require your brain to be on high alert. Weed pulling with the gentle touch that tempts the root to let go of the earth. Watering, whether by can, hose or sprinkler, with the certainty that each plant will get what it needs. Harvesting with the joy of knowing that your crops have ripened to perfection. All of these small acts under the sun will lull you into an awareness of what is going on around you, in exactly this moment.
Some of the health benefits of meditation include reduced stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as increased immunity and better memory. While you may have never thought about it in these particular terms, I dare you to wind down from your rounds in the garden without feeling calm and relaxed—and looking forward to a good rest. It comes with the territory of fresh air, warm sunshine, and the sights and sounds of nature.
As you can see in this article highlighting research done at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, meditation can play a noninvasive role in reducing heart attacks, preventing early death from heart disease, and lessening your likelihood of a stroke. Heart trouble aside, anyone who has meditated—or gardened—is familiar with the sense of peace and relaxation they feel both during and after. A new look at previous studies shows that meditation can alleviate anxiety, depression, and pain. That can’t be a bad thing.
What health benefits have you experienced from gardening? Was there ever a time when you became lost in your garden, forgetting all else but the present moment?
Photo from iStock/banprik