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  • Andrew Lewis

Weeding the Garden.

Meditation is one way of stepping outside your mind and experiencing the many benefits that accrue but it is not the only way.

The German-Swiss novelist and poet, Hermann Hesse who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946 following the publication of 'The Glass Bead Game', had this to say about weeding the garden:

' Most people consider this boring but for me it isn't. Most of 'The Glass Bead Game' was born when I was in my garden pulling weeds. It is a manual occupation, your hands are busy, you don't need to concentrate so your mind is free to work. Actually, when your hands are occupied in a repetitive task, your mind works better than when you are sitting and forcing yourself to think of something.'

The truth here is in that last sentence. Read it again, slowly!

When weeding his garden Hesse experienced the beauty of getting out of his own way, stepping away from his own busy restless mind. This is meditation!

This is often why passing a string of beads through the fingers is sometimes used in meditation; or watching the subtle changes of colour and shape in a candle flame; or reciting a mantra; or practicing a body scan; or just following the repetitions of the breath. All these gentle repetitive rituals, slow down the clamouring thoughts until we are able to step away from the constant babble of stories that block reason, creativity and clarity. The idea that such rituals are boring or time wasting is just the babbling, bullying mind appealing to ego and trying to keep us under its spell!

When we free the mind of clutter in this way what eventually emerges is far more useful and beautiful. Just as when the weeds are removed we create space for the flowers to grow and bloom.

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