Growing Spaces     The Growing Dome as a Home Sanctuary

"Not only medicine, engineering and painting are arts; living

itself is an art."  Erick Fromm

Advantages of a Separate Space

One of the surprising advantages of having a separate enclosed space for the garden is experience of “sanctuary.” Over the years we have noticed that our clients report this gift is as important to them as the ability to grow safe, organic food.

The challenges of our time, which I will call a “loss of innocence” compared to the cultural imprints of my youth, are especially challenging to many of us. The degradation of what we know to be good and true in our own culture, the fearful conditions of climate change (fire and flooding now) the erosion of human values, leave us in a kind of soul sickness. This is enhanced by the attempt to live at such a frantic pace “to make ends meet” we have little time for connection with ourselves, let alone others. Our focus is all about mastering the “details of life.”

In a brilliant program on Moyer’s Journal, June 13th, "The American Dream in Reverse." Bill Moyers spoke with columnist Holly Sklar about the difficulties many workers face in trying to earn a living wage. She said: “We’ve been living the American dream in reverse... Adjusting for inflation, average wages are lower than they were in the 1970s. Our minimum wage, adjusting for inflation, is lower than it was in the 1950s. One of the things going on is that income and wealth inequality have gone back to the 1920s. We are back at levels that we saw right before the Great Depression.”

What is the call underneath this opportunity? How do we master our fears, our PTSD, our dread over “what might happen?” I can only touch on my complete response here. The essence of self-mastery for me in this regard is a commitment to balance activity with stillness. To let my choices and responses come out of deep listening, a listening within as well as without that trusts my larger spiritual essence to inform my life.

In his Liverpool Speech, March 28, 2008 on page 9, he says: “Ever since I saw the appalling devastation of the Tsunami in Sri Lanka, I have been fascinated by the approach taken by the tribal peoples of the tiny Andaman and Nicobar Islands which sit in the middle of the Bay of Bengal, 800 miles east of Sri Lanka and 340 miles to the north of Sumatra. They were closest to the epicenter of the earthquake and bore the brunt of the devastation, and yet, by using their instinctive powers of participation they saved nearly all of their people. Coastal tribes like the Onge and Jarawa on South and Little Andaman noticed subtle changes in the behavior of birds and fish…that they responded immediately, wasting not time in moving quickly to higher ground and the shelter of the forest. In this way, they survived. He reminds us.”

Beyond “survival” this kind of listening leads to an awake state of response to life that I am finding fascinating. As Prince Charles’ wonderful speech points out, (page 5) we are really dealing with a “crisis of perception” and need to open ourselves to our innate sense of the sacred. “Everything depends upon everything else…. the bee to the flower, the bird to the tree and the man to the soil…. Nature is rooted in wholeness.”

As a naturally “driven” type of personality who has always been characterized by a “social worker” mentality this kind of listening and attention is a huge change for me. My learning to be still had to counteract a tendency toward constant motion. My natural enthusiasm for the potential of each day and innate drivenness gave me little ability to BE to meditate, or to sit still, without feeling repressed. Surprisingly, learning to garden in my Growing Dome became on method of learning to “let go.”

The Growing Dome is a natural place for spiritual practice, thus we are exploring the concept of a Home Sanctuary beyond and including the growing space. In her beautifully pictorial book ”Gardens for the Soul,” Pamela Woods states that “Gardens are indeed sacred spaces, from birth right through life and in the places of transition, the “little deaths’ in between.” (Page 150)

My goal here is to open the conversation about healing our “soul sickness” and a return to the sense of Presence that informs life. It is time to share the journey of awakening to a different sense of Order underneath the chaos of modern life, and to share the discoveries I have made in my own Home Sanctuary. I urge you to find a place you can call your own, where the media and pace of urgency can rest. I celebrate the gifts of nature for the human heart and begin anew to remind us all, that there is a peace inside this frenzied world, if we would just focus our attention there.

--Puja Dhyan

Home SanctuariesBibliography
Sacred Spaces
A Place of Peace & Solace

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