Contemplative Art in the Garden

A garden is a peaceful place to connect with every part of creation . . .

Buddha Statue in Garden

Resting Among the Ten Thousand Things ©Maureen Shaughnessy 2008

I have worked with my son, Gabe and his best friend Jack, on spring garden cleanup for some of my design clients. I love hanging out in these gardens! For me, that is one way I know I have succeeded in a garden design. Another sign of a successful design is that my clients are happy in and with their own gardens, even years after the first installation.

The almost life-size Buddha (above) rests among the “ten thousand things” in a Contemplative Garden we have installed over the last two summers. “Ten thousand things” is a Buddhist expression representing the interconnection and simultaneous unity and diversity of everything in the universe.

Each one of us is here for a reason and the world would be incomplete without us.

 

In the Huichol spiritual tradition my husband and I follow, there is a similar concept, that each of us has all of creation inside our hearts:

Huichols say we are all joyous beings of light. We were created out of love, from all the elements of the natural world — fire, air, water, and earth. Because of this, each of us is a miniature universe, a mirror of the natural world outside of ourselves, and also a mirror of the spirit world. All the knowledge and secrets of those two worlds are also inside of us, and everything is perfectly arranged. Our job is to tap into that arrangement, to understand it and to live in harmony with it.” – Brant Secunda, Huichol Shaman and Healer

If we strive to deeply understand and perceive our world as inseparable from ourselves, then we will have empathy for every part of creation. We are an integral part of everything. Every one of the ten thousand things is, in the true sense, part of us. And everything is perfectly arranged!

This — whether we paint, draw, sing, pray, dance, cook,write code or write poetry — this empathy makes every one of us an artist and a spiritual being.

So, today, go out into a “Garden,” no matter where it is and see your connection to nature as a work of art and as an act of prayer: in a wildlife refuge, in your back yard, on your balcony, in a city park, in a plant nursery or just in a clay pot on your kitchen windowsill.

Find your connection with nature: watch the unfolding of leaf buds and see not just a “plant” but also freedom, flight, wings, wind, the lightness of a heart. Can you see your own life in the artistry of the natural sculpture in the photo below?

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Comments

  1. Pam · Reply

    I love who you are, what you do and how you see the world.

  2. Joyce Ellen Davis · Reply

    Me, too! And yes! I know that we are all truly beings of light, that we SHINE…too bad everybody doesn’t know this.

  3. Joyce Ellen Davis · Reply

    PS And I, too, love who you are, what you do, and how you see the world.

  4. Meg in Nelson · Reply

    Fabulous photo, that bottom one!

  5. Mother Nature · Reply

    I have spent quite a bit of time reading your blog and looking over your Flickr portfolio. I added you to my sidebar and am looking forward to more post from you.

  6. AutumnStar · Reply

    Greetings Raven, Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy visiting here. Your beautiful garden is amazing and I look forward to beginning my own soon. Thank you for sharing your beautiful spirit!

  7. Maureen · Reply

    Thank you, Pam, Joyce, Meg, Mother Nature — and Autumn Star, for all of your comments. I’m glad you are enjoying the blog.
    Maureen

  8. Mom · Reply

    Your Dad & I are the first to “Love who you are”. We love now “What you do”.

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