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Monday, 12 October 2015

Life as a vegetable Patch

I have recently restored a vegetable patch in the house I rent. When we arrived it was in a very poor state with Wandering Jew (Tradescantia albiflora literally blanketing everything and one sad lemon tree in the middle. Now there is garlic, chives, chickpea, potato, sweet corn and chilli. The veggie patch as a space has been transformed. Where once it was neglected and radiated sadness it is now open and fertile and radiates happiness

I have always viewed my life as being similar to a veggie patch and have wondered why people neglect their lives and then complain about how bad things are for them. People have lives like the way my now emphatically happy veggie patch used to be. Lives that are neglected with all sorts of damaging weeds thriving in them. People also have lives that are like the way my veggie patch is now.

The crucial difference between the two lives is that the latter person takes time to tend their lives. The Dhammically healthy take the time to maintain their lives. They seek out the weeds of anger and grudges. They deal with potential issues as they arise rather than allowing them to fester and eventually result in poisonous behaviour. The Dhammically healthy nourish their lives with acts of kindness towards themselves and other people.

Notice I've included acts of kindness towards themselves as Dhammic nourishment? The Dhammically healthy understand that unless your own house is in order, you can't help anyone else clear up their own mess. It's like a 200 kg junk food binging, chain smoking, beer guzzling horror advising on health, fitness and diet. The Dhammically healthy nourish their bodies properly, they also nourish their minds with meditation, solitude, yoga and Tantric sex. The meditation, solitude, yoga and Tantra all strengthen and focus the mind, they are, in and of themselves healthy behaviours.

I have noticed that behaviours cluster and reinforce each other. Someone who neglects their health will neglect all aspects of their health. They will smoke, eat junk and not exercise a lot, often there will be self esteem issues and their spiritual-religious life will be non-existent. A negative feedback loop kicks into action. The opposite is true of us who cultivate our health, who tend our emotional gardens. We refuse to poison our bodies with tobacco and junk, we exercise regularly and have a spiritual-religious practice that is the foundation of our lives, our self esteem is high.

In horticulture this is known as companion planting. My garden has two types of legumes growing in it. There is the peas that came with the pea straw I used as mulch during winter and there are Chickpea (Cicer arietum). Both fix nitrogen into the soil and both will provide organic material that will be dug in. I have planted my Chickpea in between my potato and maize. I am establishing a positive feedback between my plants. My need for health is nurtured and reinforced by my Dhamma practice. I have the same feedback loop operating in my Dhamma practice as I do in my garden.

My life is a place I consciously cultivate the wonderful in. What do you do with yours?