” A man’s mind might be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild, but whether cultivated or neglected, it must and will bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weeds will fall therin, and will continue to produce their kind.”
There is a picture of my oldest son when he was three years old, standing in a field of dandelions on a bright, summer day.
In his hand is a dandelion stem, and on his face a puzzled frown, for he had just blown away his first puff of white dandelion seeds. They can be seen drifting away in the breeze behind him. He had not expected to lose his flower, but this new discovery brought a fun delight. Soon, the air was snowing with the white fluff of blown dandelion seeds.
I think about this memory often in the spring time when the gentle breezes send varieties of seeds and weeds into my garden. I imagine other little children blowing their flowers and sending them innocently into the air, not realizing that I will be fighting those weeds with a vengeance in my garden. It makes me giggle. Ah, how the actions of one can affect another….
The garden of the mind is a more sneaky matter. It’s harder to keep track of all the seeds and weeds that are blowing into that garden. Even the most diligent mind-gardener who is careful to prepare the soil with fertile compost and wholesome nutrients is constantly bombarded with weed after weed in our daily lives.
There are hundreds of weeds coming at us all the time. Weeds with thorns of violence,weeds that breed bramble bushes of negativity, weeds of depression and inactivity are just a few that we are in constant battle with.
How can we fight the bombardment of weeds on the mind? It isn’t hopeless. There are things we can do. Following a few gardener’s tricks can help keep the weeds out of your mind.
It’s a gardener’s secret that if the soil is full, then it is harder for the weed to take. Be proactive in filling your mind with the flowers that you want in there.
Peaceful, positive, challenging, enlightening, artistic, inventive, or whatever interests you. What would you like your mind-garden design to be? Create a plan. Put it in writing. Look at it. The brain is a malleable organ soaking up everything it is exposed to. You have an amazing amount of control over what goes into your brain. Choose to exercise that control and plant your garden the way you want it. Plant your seeds close together so that the weeds can’t take hold.
Next, pull the existing weeds out. You might have to look closely to identify the weeds in your life. Some weeds look remarkably like flowers. Or they have been there for so long that we just haven’t paid any attention to them before. It might be that they are in everyone else’s garden so we thought they must be OK. Take a deep look. Once you have planned your garden design, there won’t be any more room for weeds that will take away from the plan you want. Be very selective.
Weeds breed more weeds. Gardeners know that one weed has lots of friends. Flowers have a few. While it takes effort and time to cultivate friendships and learning, it takes amazingly very little effort to cultivate weeds. You can do nothing but leave them in your life and they will grow and breed and take over. You must actively choose to remove them and not let them back in. It’s a battlefield in the garden and the weeds plan to win! Once you have removed them, fill that space up with new flowers. Remember to water and fertilize and feed those new flowers. Take time and attention, carefully care for them and they will reward you with their beauty and fragrance.
A gardener must always be alert and on the look-out for stealth weeds that sneak in looking like flowers, promising to be a good thing in your life, only to end up taking over the whole garden. Keep in mind, that many nice flowers, if left to over-breed can become weeds in the wrong situation. You must choose wisely with balance and determine what are the most important flowers to fill your mind with and in what proportions.
Finally, spend time on your garden every day. Take a walk through it, enjoy it, meditate in it. Get inspiration from it. A beautiful garden will give back much more than you ever will have to put in to it, especially a beautiful mind-garden. Daily maintenance keeps the job from not getting overwhelming and the weeds at bay.
You can’t escape having a mind-garden. It will be planted. What goes into that garden is up to you one way or another, by choice of doing something, or by doing nothing.
How is your mind garden doing these days?