Tonight I gave a dharma talk about connecting with the “Earth” as an important grounding part of your spiritual practice.
I spoke about how cultivating our minds is similar to cultivating one’s soil and earth in preparation for a garden. Before planting one’s garden, it is helpful to pull out the weeds, remove invading pests, rocks, and enrich the soil with helpful additives like compost, pete moss, manure etc. We do this process with kindness, patience, and wisdom as we take one step at a time to create the best growing conditions.
We use our formal meditation practice in a similar way to cultivate calmer, stable minds capable of fuller presence (soil) and to work with unwholesome experiences that arise with kindness and love, such that these unwholesome roots get weakened, and do not get strengthened. In this way, we are creating the conditions for wholesome roots of the mind to take hold and grow in our inner garden.
The expression “Water the flowers and not the weeds” comes to mind.
During our discussion, many people spoke about how restorative, calming, and balancing it was for them to be out in nature, either walking, sitting, hiking, or gardening, etc.
If you want to get more out of your practice, get outside in nature more often. Touch the earth. Connect with the earth. Connect with the nurturing, supportive, quiet, and stable ground.
This is our birthright. We are beings of this planet. When our spiritual practices deepen, we feel this supportive connection with our Mother Earth, and this connection, in turn deepens our level of practice.