Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Secret Garden

Backyard garden, early Autumn
Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of  the earth are never alone or weary
 of life. -- Rachel Carson

    We all find our gardens in life where and when we can. Now is the time when I imagine that our gardens have thoughts of summers turning to winters yet to come, of springs to look forward to and then, yet more summers to count on. Somebody asked me the other day about my spiritual beliefs. I thought a minute and said, well,  I think I'm becoming a Pantheist. You see, I think of a garden as a living, breathing sentient entity born and bred and cultivated and nourished with a gardener's love and vision. And I wonder, are we so different from our gardens? Like them, we nourish and are nourished, love and are loved, bloom with beauty, then wither. We go on with varying measures of consciousness through life's seasons, like our gardens. We learn that when one thing ends, we slide into the next thing, and then the next. All of it following like day into night and back again. We learn to look ahead and up for the next beautiful and inspiring moment to gently nudge us on in life's journey. We find places and spaces that help set us on the path to Wisdom's Edge.
   Red Rock Gardens
Inscribed rock found at Amitabha Stupa
         Such a place is the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park ( . I found this rock there on our last hike. I thought to myself, why yes, I know what that means. I too feel feelings I forgot whenever I visit that place of beauty in the red rocks of Sedona. The ruggedly beautiful and inspiring Stupa grounds connect with several hiking trails that are easily accessible, free and lead to vistas allowing unobstructed views of what seem like hundreds of strings of prayer flags floating in the air. Open from dawn to dusk, free and gloriously welcoming, this Peace Park is a kind of secret garden offering pilgrims a stellar show of earth's beauties and mysteries. Some have compared it to healing sites like Santuario de Chimayo in Northern New Mexico or Lourdes, in France.
Visitors to the Peace Park and Stupa

Prayer Flags Flying
           On auspicious days of the month like full moon  times or in certain seasons, this sacred garden becomes a little livelier with ceremonies, chants and prayer flags ringing out into the rocky red hills that form a kind of natural amphitheater around the Stupa. Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The prayers blown by the wind spread good will and blessings, becoming a permanent part of the universe as the images on the flags fade from exposure to the elements. Then new flags are added alongside the old, a symbolic act of acknowledging life's changes and a greater ongoing cycle for all
Buddha, cairn, flags
beings. When I see a row of flapping prayer flags, I  acknowledge this ancient wisdom and remember I have the power, and maybe the duty, to add my highest and best energy to the store of blessings that have taken wing for the millions who need to receive these prayers. 

To The Four Corners
Backyard garden with prayer flags and chimes
        We have prayer flags at home, on our back patio, miniature versions of the flags flying all over the Stupa grounds. I've never written anything on them, when I bought them from the Tibet Center in Santa Fe they came already inscribed. But I know what they symbolize and it gives me a sense of connection with the wider world whenever I 'take communion' with nature in my small secret garden. Like the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park, our garden is a place to sit, meditate, marvel.  Here is where I go for a sense of a renewal and reconnection. It's not finished yet, my secret garden. There's more to do in the coming seasons to make it the way I really want it. But for now...and here's the secret: now is really all there's perfect.