Mindfulness poems, also called gathas, help us to dwell in the present moment and to be deeply aware of the action we are doing so that we can perform it with understanding and love. —Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness in the Garden offers simple mindfulness verses to connect the mind and body and to bring the gardener’s awareness to the details of the present moment as they work in the garden. These poems and reflections are reminders that gardening can water seeds of mindfulness within us, help us to accept ourselves where we are, and allow us to become fully present. Through the practice of mindful gardening, we welcome not only the thriving of the natural world but also the beauty of our true selves to emerge.
With one’s attention to the signposts and messengers of nature, these gentle reminders offer gardening as a meditation practice, cultivating one’s ability to connect with our environment.
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Zachiah Murray’s deep rooted practice of Mindfulness in the Garden offers grounded encouragement and inspiration for our times.
–Wendy Johnson, Author, Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate
Grounded in the present moment, Zachiah Murray pays close attention to flowers and insects. Using the microscope of mindfulness, the garden becomes fresh and alive.Open the portal of this lovely book into a gentle garden of words that supports our mindfulness as we stroll among the flowers and trees around us.
–Cheryl Wilfong, Author, The Meditative Gardener
From the Introduction
Tucked back in the far left corner of my childhood home lives a handsome row of silvery-green-leafed Elaeagnus angustifolia—Russian olive trees. Beneath their thorny boughs—young knees to the ground, body in a sacred earthly bow—I became a gardener at the tender age of eight. Gardening without gloves, I loved the feel of earth on my hands: rich, aromatic, smelling of both life and death simultaneously. I relished this communion with the soil. I still do. My gardening always began in that far southwestern corner beneath the billowy canopy of those eleven Russian olives with my neighbor’s pigeons gently coo, coo, cooing in their pen behind me. This was our ritual, the trees’ and mine, and it was sacred. Beneath their umbrella of dappled shade, I vowed to tend the land where their roots reached into the earth so that they could continue to grow earnestly.
A deep communion ensued between us during those hot and humid summer days. At their feet I said many childhood prayers while their silent stillness comforted me. In their simple presence I found solace. Grateful for their company, somehow I knew my survival was intimately connected to theirs. As I assessed my work, stepping away from the carefully tended band of soil holding my listening companions firm to the earth, I saw the rich brown terrain free from the tangle of weeds that once claimed its clarity. In this clearing, the knot in my mind had also loosened, and my heart was at ease.
Many years into my practice as a landscape architect, gardening remains a true love of mine. The garden is a place where I come back to my self. I recognize the garden—whether it is a window box, vegetable crops, fruit orchard, vineyard, the living architecture of designed “outdoor rooms,” or simply a patch of tenacious weeds that just refuse to leave our yard—as the critical demarcation between what is wild and what is cultivated. Regardless of its form, when we touch this line with our gardening—weeding, preparing the soil, planting, watering, tending, harvesting—we place ourselves at the edge marking the line between our own primal and civilized nature as well. Crossing the garden’s threshold we enter into a direct relationship with nature and with all of Life—with our authentic Self. This is a relationship that must be recognized, and consciously and compassionately entered. It requires that we garden with a heartfelt mindfulness, giving our attention and awareness to the details of Life that surround us. It requires that we become present.