Genesis 2: 7-9 . . . . . then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.
As a person who has loved gardening ever since he was a child, I intuitively knew that gardening connects us to something bigger than ourselves. I remember even as a pre-schooler, my dad would set aside a short row in the garden for me to plant, tend and harvest. It was always with a sense of hope that I would place each seed in the carefully prepared trench and then gently cover them with soil and finish with the proverbial “patting down of the dirt.” I remember the sense of excitement when the first shoot burst through the soil and the feeling of great satisfaction when I crunched that first pea.
Now over the years I’ve met many kindred spirits who share that deep connection to the land, but I’ve also met people who think they love gardening but actually just love gardens. I understand that feeling, but it is quite different from gardening. Things of beauty such as music, art, and liturgy, rest in our right brain and because God dwells in our heart rather than our head, it is always easier to access the presence of God using our right brain rather than the left side where we process information and make choices based on fact rather than just a deep knowing (perhaps a future blog topic). So, the beauty of the garden – visually, the smell, the different textures – is spiritual but it is different none the less than the gardening experience.
I believe that the spirituality of gardening rests in the tactile experience of touching earth. We are the people of the earth. God formed us from the earth and then filled us with that life force we name as spirit – the breath of life. Buried deep in our psyche is that knowledge. It is a cellular knowledge that we are “hard-wired” with from the moment of our conception. Just as a Canada Goose knows to fly south with the fall, and a salmon knows where to spawn and a newborn calf knows to struggle to its feet to find its mother’s teat and nourishment; humans know that they are connected to the earth for they are “earth beings.”
As Healing Pathway practitioners, we try and channel two forms of energy to promote healing. One is sky energy, which I always think of as Christ energy, and the other is powerful energy or “Yahweh energy” that we channel from deep within the earth. Most forms of energetic healing use some form of earth energy, however they might name it, to bring about spiritual healing.
When we dig our hands into the soil, when we let the earth run through our fingers, whether we are conscious of it or not, we are not only connecting to that from which we came, we are healing ourselves by allowing God energy to flow through us. That’s why, if we are depressed, worried, emotionally drained, stressed or even just feeling disconnected from the one who created us (God) or the world in which we live, gardeners seek out the garden.
Yes, we let the beauty of flowers and plants, the intoxicating aromas of fresh bloom and sounds of leaves rustling in the wind embrace us but whether it is planting a seed, pulling a weed or transplanting a new shrub or flower, it is that sensation of connecting physically to the soil that soothes our soul and brings us closer to the one who created us, nurtures us and offers us unconditional love.
If you’re a gardener, you probably know what I am talking about. If this just seems like a very strange and esoterica Blog, I would invite you to go out into the yard or even to the pot on your deck and run your finger through the soil. I bet you’ll feel healthier, more grounded and connected.
May it be so! Wayne