To live life fully with joy requires one to know self without the filters of societal conditioning, familial conditioning and one’s ego. These filters block our vision and the truth of who we really are and how we are connected to the Universe. These filters also block us from being in touch with our self and hearing our own inner guidance and voice.

To know self requires being able to recognize and delve into layers of beliefs, frozen emotions, past traumas, and self-limiting thoughts that block seeing who we really are. These layers manifest themselves as weeds and rocks in our “garden within”.

Simply said, our garden within is the truth and understanding of who we are and the potential that we can reach. Tending to our garden within is the process of consciously and continuously being in touch with ourselves.

Due to years of living and not being in touch with our self, our garden within may be filled with weeds, rocks and boulders that do not serve any useful purpose. Weeds in our garden within can manifest as fear, anger, despair, self-doubt, or self-importance. Rocks and boulders in our garden may be our society and family conditioning, trauma, self-pity and beliefs. Rocks in our garden within can also be old patterns that keep repeating themselves and harm us emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

We also have plants in our garden within which consists of fruit trees, shrubs and flowers. The flowers in our garden within provide us deep joy and gratitude. Shrubs in our garden within anchor us and help us stop the erosion of our soil (soul). The fruit trees in our garden within can provide various fruits to nourish us, and others, physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

Flowers in our garden help us to get in touch with our self and remembering how to be present in the now. The flowers in our garden can represent the joy of smelling fresh air in the morning, joy of the mundane, joy of hearing music, joy of experiencing Sun on our skin, joy being appreciated at work, smiles of our children, joy of helping others or joy connecting with a pet.

Fruit trees in our garden represent who we are and who consciously we like to become. The fruit trees in our garden can be our relationships, our career, our use of our gifts and talents, our impact on others, our children, or our health condition. It is important that we have many types of flowers and fruit trees in our garden within to be balanced and more joyful. Shrubs in our garden within can be traditions, customs and ritual that we perform in our daily life.

Watering our garden is one of the major tools of tending to our garden. The water is the source that guides and sustains us. Initially as a child we see our parents as the ultimate source. As we get older our water source may be replaced by our friends, teachers or our mate. Later on in our life we may find the never ending and ultimate source which has many names: Spirit, Universal connection, Inner light, or God.

In order to effectively tend to our garden within, it is necessary to take several steps to re-gain being in touch with self.

The first step is to get help to recognize, acknowledge, and remove major burdensome rocks in our garden within that deprive our soul and body of major nourishment. It is important that we deal with the most burdensome rocks first since they have direct impact on the growth of weeds in our garden.

Next step is to find those gardening tools that will enable us to connect with our true self. Such tools can be meditation, prayers, mirroring, being in nature, intuitive work, dream analysis, or artistic expression. One needs to be open to utilizing any gardening tool, even though that particular tool may not have been of interest in the past.

The final step is removal and maintenance of the weeds, fruit trees, and shrubs in our garden within. The process of removing weeds and maintaining a weed free garden within is a continuous process which will take less time as we become more familiar with it. Trees and shrubs in our garden within also need to be pruned to direct growth direction consistent with our needs and aspirations. We need to be aware, patient, and kind with ourselves during this life long process of maintenance and pruning.

During our personal self-discovery, we sometimes regress back to our old habits and self-talk. The key is to be able to recognize the patterns and forms of weeds in our garden within and take care of them gently and consciously. The following poem is based on several experiences that I had when I regressed back to my old habits and patterns in response to sometimes trivial, but upsetting challenges in my daily life.

You are Hooked Again.

You took the bait!

You are hooked again without realizing how easily you took the bait.

The bait is your distraction from truth.

The bait has hooked your total attention by voices inside your head:
Poor me.
I will always be alone.
It should not be like this.
I am not lovable.
Tomorrow I will be miserable.
Nobody has problems like mine.
Nothing works for me.

The hook is in your heart.

You are not balanced.
You are agitated.
You do not feel connected.
You question your worth.
You feel miserable and do not smile.

You are now focused on hook’s wound.

You are no longer looking at the big picture.

You are in massive turmoil.

Take out the hook gently.

despite what you perceive are going through.

Look at how many things are working for you
not against you.

Question your limiting assumptions.

Take a deep breath.

Get connected again.

The story that was the bait will no longer be attractive.

The story that was the bait will not keep you in a cramped cell.

The wound will magically heal fast.

Your attention will be hooked again and again,
but each time you will remove the hook faster.

Copyright 2009 @ by Shervin Hojat

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