By Hugh Russell
When you hear the term ‘spiritual practice,’ the things that probably come to mind are activities like devout prayers and deep meditation. Try going through an actual spiritual life coaching course, though, and you’ll find out that it need not always be like that. Gardening is one of the more common as well as enjoyable practices that spiritual life coaches like to suggest because gardening can provide rich soil from which a deeply rooted spirituality can bud and blossom.
Parallel ideas are one of the main things that make gardening work as a practice for your spirituality. After all, the behavior and pattern of plants do bear a huge resemblance to the way your spiritual life behaves.
Regular watering with prayer and exposure to God are requirements to make your faith grow. You also need to be rooted in strong, rich ground to be able to grow and expand your faith. Every now and then, you have to prune it to keep things simple and uncomplicated. And with enough time and growth, your branches and leaves can even benefit those people around you.
But it’s not just the many parallel ideas that exist between deepening your spirituality and maintaining a shrubbery. One of the things that makes gardening a great spiritual practice is the ‘me’ time it can afford you. It gives you an opportunity to escape the noise and bustle of everyday life, to slow down and think, and to be alone with yourself, your watering can and God.
Planting the Seed
It doesn’t take much to start with this particular practice. Just find yourself a spot of garden and a few plants to tend; even a little flower pot on your window sill will do. Be sure to pick plants that aren’t too high maintenance, else you’ll end up thinking more of your exotic geraniums than of getting closer to God.
Make spending time with your garden a fixed part of your schedule. This is a crucial step because it has to be part of your routine, your daily habit. Without this regularity, the effectiveness of the spiritual practice gets diluted. Besides, it’s a very relaxing activity that you’ll probably want to do everyday anyway.
From the Ground Up
One of the messages that spiritual life coaches give is to allot quiet time for yourself, especially when you’re trying to reconnect with God or to deepen an existing connection. The message of Christ is something that’s always present and available; you just have to make sure that there’s nothing else in your environment that’s drowning it out.
Real spiritual life coaching isn’t some one-time event; it’s a continuing process of renewal in your faith. One of the factors that makes gardening so great for deepening that faith is having something – your plants, flowers or whatever – that visibly grow with you. Each one encourages a deeper and more profound sense of God’s loving presence.