Through gardening, stress can be managed and dispelled. Take a look at the different types of meditation gardens you can set up.
- Depending on your culture and personal preference, there’s sure to be a garden type that will restore faith and confidence!
Meditating in the garden, a healthy practice for all
Whatever your age, meditation can help reduce stress levels, sharpen focus, and generate happiness and well-being.
A garden is the perfect place to practice this daily or weekly, especially because it connects us to nature and other living things.
Culture and family are how meditation and prayer often become part of us. Indeed, generations connect as individual acknowledge that each of us is part of something bigger – transcendence.
Different types of meditation gardens
Some gardens are specifically designed to make meditation and prayer easier.
- Of course, it’s possible to merge different influences to reach a combination that is just right for you and your family, too.
Part of the strategy is to admit that body and soul are connected. What the body perceives can influence the soul. Through meditation, a person tries to harmonize the different aspects of their being: mind, soul, and body.
- Meditation gardens help create an atmosphere that appeases the body.
- The five senses are at play: sight, smell, touch, sound, hearing.
Some gardens emphasize one sense over the others, which helps people who are more sensitive to that sense focus and meditate. Other gardens aim to keep the body busy while releasing the mind.
Cloister gardens, both useful and restful
Cloister gardens, historically, were set up by monks of Christian origin. Heavily inspired from the Benedictine mantra of “ora et labora”, or “prayer and work”, they are both beautiful and useful.
- They harbor edible plants like berry bushes and medicinal herbs, too.
- Cloister gardens are structured into small patches, like a square-foot garden. This divvies garden work up into bite-size bits. Less than a quarter-hour suffices to accomplish any given task such as watering, weeding, or planting.
Often, walkways meander through the growing beds. A few strategically placed benches or sitting stones let one rest and pray. A daily walk around this Christian-inspired meditation garden yields fruits of both kinds: food for the body, and fruit for the soul!
Japanese gardens, a miniature world to reflect upon
Beauty in small spaces is what makes most Japanese gardens stand out. Even if you’ve only got a dozen square feet of garden space, you can fit an entire continent’s worth of landscapes and scenery in a well-designed Japanese garden.
- Where space is at a premium, Japanese gardens deliver landscapes and panoramas that seem much larger than they really are.
- Seasons passing all set their mark on a well-thought Japanese meditation garden. Fiery Japanese maple or wonderful Japanese azaleas mark passing time in color.
- Ornaments also help merge water, earth and rock in the form of fountains or bamboo water clocks.
Japanese gardens often seek to reduce the size of nature, the more to reveal its intricate balance. The art of Bonsai-making goes this way, opening the path to a philosophical quest as well!
Zen rock gardens, the soft might of the mineral world
Japan is also where some of the world’s most insightful zen rock gardens are located. With only the barest of plant life, sometimes at most a clump of moss, the mineral world stands out here. Boulders, gravel, rocks… not a shrub or tree in sight!
- Careful placing of stones in a sea of raked gravel is pleasing to the eye and restful to the mind.
- Patterns change and evolve as rays of the sun travel through the day, and through seasons, too.
The art of caring for this garden is a meditation that involves the whole body. Meticulous raking and careful picking of wind-blown leaves keep the body busy as the mind wanders free.
Labyrinth gardens, finding the soul by losing the body
A particularly interesting type of meditation garden is the “labyrinth” garden. This isn’t the usual corn-field maze garden designed for family fun and adventure. It’s usually a single long, winding line that looks complicated only from afar. Up close, you simply follow the curves one step at a time to make your way through the labyrinth.
- Stones often mark out the path. Sometimes only slow-growing plants line the edges.
- All your attention focuses on taking that next step and not missing a turn.
- In some gardens, caretakers plant low cactus or prickly aloe-vera to teach you to concentrate on the present moment. Any distraction and the maze pricks you!
Ancient wise ones used to say that such labyrinth gardens were the key to answering questions important to you.
- Formulate the question upon entering the maze.
- Carefully navigate the maze, even without thinking about your question.
- By the time you reach the exit, your mind has thought things through in the background. The way forward should now seem clear!
Smart tip about meditation gardens
Regularity is key to make the most of a meditation garden. Try to always spend a few minutes a day at around the same time in your meditative garden area. Your mind will get better and better at making the most of the time you’re giving it!
Meditation gardens on social media
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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Meditation garden gateway by James DeMers ☆ under Pixabay license
Cloister garden by Laura Bittner ☆ under © CC BY 2.0
Meditative Japanese garden by Christopher Michel ★ under © CC BY 2.0
Rock garden by el_ave ★ under © CC BY 2.0
Stone labyrinth by Uvo under © CC BY-SA 4.0
Wavy gravel (also on social media) by Ryan Schram ★ under Unsplash license