The Garden Path

IMG_1913I stood at my window the other morning, completing the rituals that mark the beginning of my day. In this meditative state, certain objects catch my attention and speak metaphorically to whatever process is at work in that particular moment. On this occasion, it was the pebble path that leads from the potager to the upper level, where ornamental plants and fruit trees create a meditation garden to feed both body and spirit.

The rustic pathway with its pavers and infill of gravel is rough, unadorned; leaves blow onto the surface and break down to nourish the tenacious weeds which appear, seemingly overnight. It stands in stark contrast to the leafy abundance of the potager, yet it draws the eye, invites exploration – and, as my eye follows the stepping stones, a half-hidden vista appears beyond the steps.

I realise that it mirrors the spiritual journey. The difficult terrain encountered on the path; the stones in the shoe; the weeds – persistent, unwanted, perpetually growing in the wrong place. Yet if I look around me, there is always beauty and sustenance, and the path itself, for all its severity, leads onward, climbs, to places glimpsed only dimly.

So much has been written about this trite symbol of the inner journey. Yet, when I reflect on my garden, somehow the imagery is perfect for the moment; fresh and immediate as though newly coined. Perhaps that is the magic of meditative reflection, that each time we move more deeply into mindfulness, all things are revivified and cleansed of the jadedness of overuse.

Zen Beginner’s Mind – the Kabbalistic Creator’s Mind; these traditions, and many others, speak of the purification of perception which, in turn, leads to greater simplicity and the capacity to see truth in every image.

It is a process that stills us, returns us to ourselves … and may even reveal the wisdom embedded in the dusty stones of a humble garden path.

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