Weeds root deeply.

The mind is like a garden, it’s soil rich and it’s environment ripe for thoughts to grow and take root.  Our abusers scatter seeds that root deeply and because they tend to scatter certain seeds over and over again, the mind can literally become so overgrown with these thoughts that no light can filter through to expose their ugliness, nor clarity illuminate  them as foreign and not of our own making.  When we cannot choose to leave the situation (when we are children for example) we have fewer options to combat the onslaught.  As adults, if we are lucky enough to find out that there are other ways to live, that there are relationships where love involves nurturing and supporting our well-being, we may find an opportunity to begin to remake our garden.

Sometimes, we may have to start removing the weeds with chemicals (antidepressants or other medications) in order to get them under control enough to be manageable.  I admire people who can remake their gardens organically, who are able to use meditation, yoga, talk therapy or self-help books, and never need to take medication.  But, whatever method  you end up using, the goal is to make your garden, your mind, your own.  The work can be exhausting, exhilirating, excruciating, and eventually liberating.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, the goal is to let go of your thoughts, but it helps if the thoughts are positive and generated from self-love as opposed to negative and churned up from an unrepentant jerk you had no choice about living with.

Two aspects of Buddhism have been especially helpful to me in beginning to replant my garden, although it may be the teachers I’ve chosen to listen to.  The first is that we are all Buddhas, and that we are essentially good.  What a contrast to the shame, and soil of original sin that made up the majority of my childhood spiritual messages.  (my mother tells the story of sitting in church with me when I was quite small, and me asking her, “Mommy, why is the minister so mad at us?” )  The second is the expectation that you will try many, many times before you succeed in letting go of your thoughts for even the briefest time span and that not only is that okay, it’s part of the path.  The balm of forgiveness is built in to meditation practice without you having to kneel on gravel, have your “spirit” broken, or perform some deed that makes you feel dirty.

I’ve always envied my three older sisters gardening abilities.  They each seem to emulate our mother, who spent hours with her roses, and always had the most beautiful gardens.  Interestingly, my sisters grew-up in India where my parents were missionaries in the mid to late 50’s and had servants, including a nanny.  Our father was not as angry then.  It was when they came back to the United States, and he decided to go to medical school that the anger emerged and became uncontrollable.  Oh, they still got plenty of his nastiness, but maybe because they weren’t so inundated from birth (or pre-birth) they seem to have more self-confidence and are less tortured by self-loathing.  I pretty much kill every living plant I buy or am given.  I’ve never been able to create a beautiful garden.  My hope is that if I can start with my mind, with those weedy thoughts rooted so deeply in my consciousness, perhaps once there is beauty within, the ability to create beauty around me will develop.  It’s worth a try……

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~ by janetlandis on August 9, 2009.

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