HAPPY Sunday my friends!
Seeds are minute but profound examples of the innate intelligence that resides in all living things. Each Spring I am reminded of this lesson as I return to tending my flower garden. I am awed by the potential in each tiny seed I plant. Every seed has the intelligence to know which parts need to grow into roots, extending down through the earth, and which parts need to grow into branches or flowers, reaching up toward the sky. For millennia, the human race has respected the magical ability of seeds to grow faultlessly into plants. We have not always recognized that we all have the same vast intelligence in every cell in our bodies, but both ancient yogic teachings and modern biology teach us the infinite potential we carry at a cellular level. Cell biology may give us new reasons to revisit the old yogic wisdom, and new support for looking at the way we tend the garden of our soul.
When we plant seeds in our gardens, we naturally consider the conditions --at least the climate and soil, and we don’t plant our seeds in the winter in a gravel driveway. We know without really thinking that when these conditions are supportive, the seeds can grow in alignment with their potential. If the seeds do not have favorable conditions, then they may not be able to fulfill that potential, or even grow at all. What may not be so intuitively obvious is that our cells, our very selves, all operate similarly. First we must remember that the the “soil" for our cells is really both our external environment and all the other cells in our bodies. If we do not take care of our bodies, and our wider environment, then disease, fatigue and injury can result.
We are surrounded by cultural reminders that we must take care of our bodies —eating a healthful diet, getting regular exercise, insulating our bodies from extreme cold, cleansing our bodies, brushing our teeth. What is not so prevalent is attention to our minds and our emotions. Again, both ancient yogic teachings and modern medicine agree on the importance of emotional and mental well-being, but popular culture has not brought the issue to our attention in quite the same way. With my hands in the dirt of my garden, thinking about seeds and cells, it seems obvious that if our minds and emotions shape our experience so strongly, we should be nurturing these cells just as we do the cells of our bodies. The two are not, of course, separate; we just treat them separately. So if we treat our body as a field to be tilled and tended, we must see (and we would probably all agree) that the mind is a part of that field —perhaps the most important part. It is all too easy to forget our minds’ importance, though, when we our culture does not focus on mental health as it does on physical health, and when our daily lives do not support the calmness and the contemplation our minds need to flourish.
As we plant our gardens this Spring, let us remember to care not only for the seeds of our bodies, but also for the seeds of our minds. Carve out time for daily meditation. Include some solitude in your weekly plans. Practice Yoga Nidra a couple of times a week. Create time to pause and reflect between activities, instead of jumping from one thing to another. Find time to just “be”. Hope to see you soon!