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Cultivating a beautiful life


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Cultivating a beautiful life

  1. 1. Transform your life landscape into a flourishing havenby following the straightforward steps of ʻThe Natural Pathʼ.Cultivating a beautiful lifeCaroline Robertson NDCopyright © Ayurveda Elements 2010 Ayurveda Elements Training, Tours, Treatments, Resorts, Hospitals Phone/fax: 0011 61 2 9904 775 17 Orchard Road, Chatswood NSW Australia 2067 ayurvedaelements@gmail.comThe Natural Path hands dirty in the rich soil of our existence.Voltaireʼs call to ʻcultivate our gardenʼ can be The Natural Path is a simple and result-met when we apply the principles of good oriented self-help system to gently guide onegardening to our personal plots. The to a fulfi lling life. Based on natureʼs exampleguidelines for creating a beautiful garden run it is a model that everyone can rapidly relateparallel to the secrets of a beautiful life. to and easily apply.Digging to discover natureʼs laws we uncoverthe spiritual substratum that governs the The five stage pragmatic process directs usentire universe. to attend to our lifescapeʼs weeding, landscaping, sowing, nurturing andRekindling our relationship with nature we harvesting. If followed sincerely it can createlearn to harmonise our own nature, following a gorgeous future garden, a place where weWordsworthʼs advice to “let nature be our radiate in the full fragrance of our blossomingteacher.” Recognising that all creation is potential.governed by the cycles of gestation, birth,growth, decay and death shows us how to “Sow a thought and reap an act;maintain balance through lifeʼs variegated Sow an act and reap a habit;phases and to see value at every stage. Sow a habit and reap a character;Viewing nature as a metaphor for life we can Sow a character and reap a destiny.”hone our gardening skills to create the fi eldof our deepest desires. Shakespeareʼs belief The Five Stepsthat “our bodies are our gardens, to which our “Sow a thought and reap an act;wills are gardeners” encourages us to get our Sow an act and reap a habit;   1  
  2. 2. Sow a habit and reap a character; for a time though sometimes we may need toSow a character and reap a destiny.” juggle all stages simultaneously.- Anonymous The five steps areTake a stroll through the garden of your life.Some areas are fertile and fl ourishing while (1) Uprooting weedsother regions are withering from neglect or (2) Landscaping dreamspoor management. What strategy will you use (3) Sowing seedsto rejuvenate your plot into a place where you (4) Nurturing growth andcan bask in the sunlight of joyous living, to (5) Reaping the harvest.“expand and live in the warm day like cornand melons”, in Emersionʼs words there is a To bring the Nature Process from the abstractprofound and pragmatic way to identify realm of theory to a practical situation weʼllproblem areas and transform them into an use Sarahʼs dilemma. Sarahʼs life garden wasoasis even ʻBackyard Blitzʼ would be proud being overrun by a Trifid-type job of threeof. years. Except for the pay she disliked everything about it -the duties, boss, premises and hours. It was suffocating her life of pleasurable flowers and starving her of fulfilling fruits. Committed to taking charge of her turf again Sarah began the five-step process. She began by identifying and uprooting the weed belief at the core of the problem. The fear that she was unqualified to get another job with as good pay stemmed from low self esteem planted in her psyche by her critical mother. After talking openly to counsellors and close friends Sarah realisedNatural imagery has always appealed to that she did have valuable skills and herhumans because it reconnects us with our discouraging parent had little impact on herwild roots, reinstating a kinship with the wise anymore. Having uprooted the weed of fearand healing earth. Thoreau called it the tonic Sarah proceeded to landscape her dreamof nature saying that, “there can be no black job.misery to one who lives in the midst ofnature”, perhaps revealing a remedy for Once she identified a realistic and excitingtodayʼs rising depression rate. The therapy option she set about sowing seeds for it tofor our artifi cial lifeʼs ailments may be, as manifest. After sending out CVʼs andEllen Glasgow extolled, “to preserve, within, a attending interviews Sarah eventually found awild sanctuary, an inaccessible valley to fulfilling position. She continued to nurturereveries.” Ayurveda Elements | Training, Tours, Treatments, Resorts, Hospitals Phone/fax: 0011 61 2 9904 775 • 17 Orchard Road, Chatswood NSW Australia 2067 • Copyright © Ayurveda Elements 2010   further growth by watering her confidenceThe Natural Path involves five gardening with fun challenges. With her blossomingskills that can be used on one aspect of your results Sarah was grateful for the grace in herlife or for a total life makeover. To avoid life. Having gained empathy for othersfeeling overwhelmed however generally it is suffering similar issues, Sarah went on tobetter to focus on one or two areas before volunteer time to career counsel high schoolexpanding to encompass more acreage. One girls. This summarised true story illustratesstep generally takes precedence over others how we can tackle dissatisfaction and strive   2  
  3. 3. for improvements just as systematically as a embarrassed to have people over and feltgardener establishes a heavenly paradise miserable living there. Her root belieffrom an earthly dump. underlying this was “I need all these things though I canʼt organise them”. This stemmedSarah followed the Nature Path for career from her deprived childhood at boardingsatisfaction yet it can be applied to all facets school where she felt underprivileged andof life. Weʼll now explore in greater depth how insecure. Accumulating things made her feeleach step works. Uprooting weeds “A manʼs temporarily secure but they soon became annature runs either to herbs or to weeds; unmanageable burden.therefore let him seasonably water the oneand destroy the other.” - Sir Frances Bacon.Every garden has its share of weeds. Whenkept to a manageable level they healthily co-habit with the gardenʼs fruit and flowers.However when they strangle important plantsof life, its time for some weeding. Similarlyour weed beliefs, thoughts, associations andenvironment can undermine our capacity toflourish by draining us of positive, life-affirming energy. Often weʼre unaware of thepowerful impact these negativities have onour life but if we ignore them they eventually Jenny recognised her root belief and overbuild from molehills into mountains, time switched it to the empowering alternativesuffocating our garden of life aspirations. “Divine protection and abundance provides me with all my needs now and always”.Shakespeare advocated a rapid response Nursing this belief daily through repetition andsaying “ ʻtis the spring, and weeds are affirmative action, Jenny began to sort out hershallow rooted, suffer them now and theyʼll house with help from a supportive yet firmovergrow the garden”. To eliminate a weed friend. Just as with a cluttered house, if wefirst we have to be aware of it and then we live with a mess of old beliefs there is notrace must its roots for complete eradication. room for fresh ideas and energy to enter ourWeeds are evident wherever there are lives. Just as Jenny managed we need to sortdifficulties or conflict in our lives. They can out the harmful thoughts in our minds andsap the joy from any sphere including open up to more useful beliefs. Torelationships, health, wealth, career and acknowledge negative patterns we may needleisure. Over time if we fail to respond to their to quieten the justifying ego and engage ininsidious influence they will infest all areas of some serious soul searching. Rather thanour life. blaming others for ruining our garden we can dig a little deeper to accept how we contribute Ayurveda Elements | Training, Tours, Treatments, Resorts, Hospitals Phone/fax: 0011 61 2 9904 775 • 17 Orchard Road, Chatswood NSW Australia 2067 • Copyright © Ayurveda Elements 2010   to our own patterns.Weeds gestate as beliefs, germinate asthoughts, sprout into actions and branch into Without adding extra weeds of guilt, shame orour life as negative repercussions. To trace a depression when facing flaws we need toproblem back to its weed belief weʼll take the accept that thereʼs always room forexample of Jenny. Jenny lived in a improvement. If we have trouble identifyingperpetually cluttered house. It was in such a the weed belief we can consider what valuedstate that she couldnʼt find anything, was too   3  
  4. 4. people have observed about us, paying keep it bountiful and fragrant with divingparticular attention to recurrent remarks or thoughtsʼ.issues that keep cropping up. We often havevalid reasons for believing and acting in Though our beliefs are often long held andsabotaging ways. Weeds may have offered deeply conditioned we can change them in aus protection or self-preservation at one second by changing our mind about theirstage but eventually their presence limits our usefulness. To see whether a belief warrantsgrowth and freedom. For example, someone replacing ask yourself ʻDoes this belief hindermay have adopted an aloof persona to or help my life purpose?ʼ The deep roots ofprotect themselves from further rejection after weed beliefs are described in Indiaʼs Vedasa painful break-up. But after time this only as unwanted things in the heart or ʻanarthasʼ.compounds feelings of isolation andloneliness. They spring from six main psychological sources: lust (kama), anger (krodha), greed (lobha), illusion (moha), delusions (mada) and envy (matsarya). These are conditioned responses sprouting from our limited life view. Once we access an unlimited spiritual view we will react with understanding instead of anger, love will replace lust, generosity will override greed and so forth. We can cultivate a more empathetic outlook by sensing that we are all children from the spiritual womb of ʻmother natureʼ. As Elizabeth Glyck suggests “like an oak tree, find balance at your centre, and all the branches of your life will grow in harmony to support the structure of who you really are”. Otherʼs weed beliefs and deeds can take seed in our garden if we attach undue importance to them. When we view them merely as a result of their overgrown garden we can sometimes gently guide that person to uproot them. Any weeds thrown into our garden by others can be turned into compost to nourish our plants, by following theTheir weed belief that ʻpeople will hurt meʼ philosophy of making lemonade out ofmust be reviewed in the light of current lemons. For example if someone pollutes ourreality. Holding an intense awareness of plot with a critical weed rather thanpresent blessings will dissipate the fruitless defensively throwing it back immediately we Ayurveda Elements | Training, Tours, Treatments, Resorts, Hospitals Phone/fax: 0011 61 2 9904 775 • 17 Orchard Road, Chatswood NSW Australia 2067 • Copyright © Ayurveda Elements 2010  focus on the past or future. After recognising can question if it holds any truth. If there is,the self-destructive nature of these thoughts then we can take it as a timely call to work onwe can use the weed-kill of a positive certain areas of our garden. As Emersonalternative belief such as ʻ there are kind and said, a weed may be ʻa plant whose virtuesloving people in the worldʼ, following have not been discoveredʼ. Parasitic weedsParamahamsa Yoganandaʼs advice to damaging our life gardens are rooted in weedʻalways think of your mind as a garden and beliefs, offshoot into weed thoughts and   4  
  5. 5. produce a poisonous crop of weed deeds. the fields but crops grow only in those thatJames Allen explains ʻevery act springs from have been tilled and sownʼ. Elevating ourhidden seeds of thought. Act is the blossom aspirations we will liberate a field of excitingof thought, and joy or suffering are its fruits.ʼ and inspiring new goals or we may simply uncover old ones that have been buried in weeds of self-doubt and discouragement. To prevent repeating past errors, we can scrutinise what didnʼt work and brainstorm fresh strategies or goals. Open your mind to the field of infinite possibilities where you dare to dream every desire. To prevent repeating past errors, we can scrutinise what didnʼt work and brainstorm fresh strategies or goals. Open your mind toIf we are really motivated to create our the field of infinite possibilities where youultimate internal garden of Eden we need to dare to dream every desire. When planningput our weeding gloves on and undertake what to place in your plot remember tosome serious sorting and throwing of out- prioritise really important things over thosedated weed beliefs. Then we have made that donʼt matter much. Think in terms of whatspace to replace them with positive seed you want within the context of an overallbeliefs. Think about a source of meaningful life mission. Plants that enhancedissatisfaction in your life, narrowing it down your life without harming others can be givento a specific issue. Ask yourself, ʻWhat is the more space to expand. Divide your life intoweed belief feeding this situation?ʼ What is an five garden beds. Then specify your two-yearalternative positive belief? gardening plan for one or more areas.By repeating and acting on the new belief its The garden beds are:roots will grow stronger and it will eventually 1) Mental, emotional, physical, spiritualbear fruits that will fertilise other dying areas. wellbeing.Landscaping dreams “Wishes of the soul bud 2) Relationship with people and the planet.forth Deeds of the will are striving Fruits of life 3) Career and contributionare maturing” -Rudolf Steiner. 4) Living environment and possessions 5) Fun, leisure, creativity and travel.Before weeding we may have ʻlost the plotʼbut now surveying our garden everything As the phrase goes -ʻwhat we conceive andshould be much clearer. Thereʼs fragrant believe we can achieveʼ, so itʼs vital that we Ayurveda Elements | Training, Tours, Treatments, Resorts, Hospitals Phone/fax: 0011 61 2 9904 775 • 17 Orchard Road, Chatswood NSW Australia 2067 • Copyright © Ayurveda Elements 2010  foliage already blessing your life and now bring our fantasy garden to life throughyouʼve created room for more growth. If emotive words and vivid imagery. Shift ourdreams are the seedlings of reality, what belief from ʻQue Sera Seraʼ- ʻWhat will be, willwould you like to sprout from your fertile beʼ to ʻQue Quiero Quieroʼ – ʻWhat I will, willimagination? To maximise our terrain we be.ʼ Describe your objectives in a positiveneed to till stagnant soil, filtering out way in the present tense. For exampleredundant elements and folding in the rich instead of saying “I wonʼt have a bad backfertiliser of fresh ideas and novel approaches. anymore,” rephrase it as ʻmy back is strong,As the Chinese proverb goes ʻrain falls on all flexible and healthyʼ.   5  
  6. 6. be bold enough to go out on a limb to get ourTo reinforce the conviction that your plans will fruitful banquet.manifest, repeat them with feeling, visualisethem happening and act as though theyʼre Once inspiration has ripened its time to putalready real. To enhance your picture make some perspiration into your projects. In aup dream charts either by montaging or relaxed and inventive mood choose one ofcomputer graphics, placing photos of yourself your two-year goals. Write down a broad two-and others in the circumstances you desire. year strategy to attain this. Next detailSometimes it also gives us leverage to share monthly milestones to reach. Finally outlineideas with others but ask them to withhold one weekly step for the next six months tocynical or negative criticism. As Yeats wrote ʻI bring your goals closer. Write these steps intohave spread my dreams under your feet, your diary making a mental commitment totread softly because you tread on my meet the deadline. This exercise should bedreams”. Review your garden at least every free of stress and strain, making you feelsix months, congratulating yourself on any excited at the thought of your seedʼs bounty.progress or developments. It may seem If it seems like a hard and thankless task youunattainable now but by preserving and may loose your drive, leaving your garden torededicating yourself daily, youʼll be rot, hence reassess your goal until you findastounded by what you can accomplish. One one with joyful associations. Passionatelydream can give birth to a transformed world love the vision of our life sanctuary as Oscaror as Emerson put it ʻthe creation of a Wilde said, “Keep love in your heart. A lifethousand forests is in one acornʼ. without it is like a sunless garden”.Sowing the seeds ʻNo seed shall perish which Youʼre in this for the long haul so donʼt expectthe soul hath sownʼ - John Addington everything to flourish overnight. To allowSymonds. Our soil is now ready to germinate seeds to germinate we must ʻadopt the pacethe seeds of future success. Weʼve of nature, her secret is patienceʼ, as Emersondetermined what we want in our garden now observed. In this fast paced world we expectitʼs time to transplant the seedling of instant results but anything really worthwhileimagination to reality. Initiating change or often takes time. Take for example Belindaʼsinnovations takes courage in our convictions struggle. Her main weed belief was that sheand capabilities. This is where many falter, was terminally fat and unattractive. Thoughtinkering in the shed rather than getting into she could temporarily loose weight on crashthe field. Or we may start and stop, diets she only regained it. After hitting rockprocrastinating from taking the next step so bottom Belinda decided to change herwe spend our life hopping up the garden approach. Instead of chasing quick cures shepath, semi paralysed by fear, laziness or took an alternative long-term outlook. Byapathy. We need to recall that our past following an enjoyable two-year nutrition,negative experiences are not relevant to the exercise and attitude adjustment program,present and flip fear into faith by doing more Belinda began to see positive results and Ayurveda Elements | Training, Tours, Treatments, Resorts, Hospitals Phone/fax: 0011 61 2 9904 775 • 17 Orchard Road, Chatswood NSW Australia 2067 • Copyright © Ayurveda Elements 2010  weeding. Some can disrupt the mindʼs alter her belief. She now conceded that sheinfluence by acting despite fear. By overriding could stay slim and wasnʼt just ʻbig bonedʼ asour patterns with action weeds are starved of others had cast her. Belinda stepped out ofmental energy and can die by themselves. If the disempowering role she had been playingwe deliberate from following our fantasies, we to let her true self-shine through. We all carrymay find the garden gates closing forever. So unique hybrid seeds in our psyche. If nurturedwe need to appreciate the time we have and they will create a distinct garden as   6  
  7. 7. irreplaceable and inimitable as our individual brilliance will effuse our life with joy. Toessence. sustain our faith that things will flourish we can simply remember Meister EckhardtʼsOthers may judge the flora as unusual but if truth that ʻthe seed of God is in usʼ.we are brave enough to grow them theirNurturing Growth our efforts also sustains confidence and“Once a seed is planted it never shrinks, it optimism.just grows” Henry David Thoreau. Having To keep pesky bugs at bay we can use thecleared weeds, landscaped dreams and sown pesticides of a positive attitude and action.seeds itʼs time to promote and protect our For example if our goal is to develop a bettergardenʼs growth. With care and perseverance relationship with a sibling we can think of theirseed beliefs will sprout into tangible saplings. good qualities, remember special timesIt may seem that nothing is happening but we together, send them loving thoughts andmust persist in the faith that hidden forces are spend quality time with them. Though it mayat work. The universe will respond to our be an awkward strain initially, the relationshipdesires but not always in the time frame or dynamics will shift as the universeway we expect. We can maintain our reciprocates with your intention. As a Thaienthusiasm by providing our seed dreams monk experienced - “as I mindfully sweep thewith plenty of nourishment. Inspiring tree of enlightenment, a tree of understandinginfluences and activities will sustain our springs from the earth”.momentum. For instance if we wanted tostrengthen the seedling of robust health we We must also protect tender budswould explore ways to improve our state by until theyʼve grown resilient. Ayurveda Elements | Training, Tours, Treatments, Resorts, Hospitals Phone/fax: 0011 61 2 9904 775 • 17 Orchard Road, Chatswood NSW Australia 2067 • Copyright © Ayurveda Elements 2010  associating with health conscious people and Just as an alcoholic should initially avoidfollowing basic health precepts of diet and places where thereʼs alcohol,lifestyle. We may also focus mentally on our we can minimise exposure to negativeaims by visualising, affirming and acting as if influenceswe have already attained them. Checking that until our resistance is strong.weʼre meeting set milestones then rewarding   7  
  8. 8. We must also protect tender buds until we can inhale the heady spring of success.theyʼve grown resilient. Just as an alcoholic Reaping satisfying rewards often eclipsesshould initially avoid places where thereʼs any difficulties faced previously, making it allalcohol, we can minimise exposure to worthwhile. The journey can be sweet butnegative influences until our resistance is the destination should be pure nectar. Westrong. However difficult to see at the time, in deserve to celebrate our achievement byhindsight challenges can help us to build kicking back for a while, smelling the rosesstrength, tolerance and adaptability. Just as and sharing the fruits of our labours. Asthe hardiest plants grow in the harshest Tagore extolled “when we rejoice in ourweather, difficulties can forge strengths and fullness, then we can part with our fruits withlead us on to a more beneficial path. During joy”.hardships we also get to distinguish who ourreal support are as fair weather friends fall by Once satiated, we can share our abundance,the wayside and real friends remain “like a skills and love. Extending success to otherssheltering tree”, as Collridge expressed. We keeps our ego in check remembering that aneed to prepare our garden in advance for tree bearing heavy fruits bows with humility.inevitable setbacks and challenges by Acknowledge all the help we received andcultivating an attitude of surrender or the express gratitude to keep grounded. Whenserenity to accept the things we cannot we donʼt appreciate things or people but takechange. By countering fear with faith, them for granted, the universe tends to stopdiscouragement with perseverance and the flow of blessings into our life. Alternativelyimpatience with patience in everyday if we focus on all the grace given to us itʼsexperiences we will be ready to weather magnetised and swells back to us. Thoughheavier storms. we can rest on our laurels briefly if we become too complacent the garden will go toAs Paramahamsa Yogananda said, “if you seed. A positive drive keeps our garden lushdonʼt invite God to become your summer through lifeʼs seasonal changes.guest, he wonʼt come in the winter of yourlife”. Despite seemingly insurmountable odds Lizʼs story shows us how important it is toan optimistic outlook often sees us through, appreciate our harvest and nurture futureproving that success is largely a mind game. growth. Liz planted a seed for her soul mate.However hard we try though some things She watered it by meeting people, classifyingwerenʼt destined to be. We can keep her desire and making herself moreperspective in these times by focussing on appealing. Things blossomed when she metthe positive things we can control and and later married her dream partner, Mark.thinking of those who are even less fortunate. They shared a blissful honeymoon phaseAs Deepak Chopra noted, you can “put every only to hit a slump one year later. Liz beganeffort into organising your life but remember to criticise Mark about minor shortcomings. Inthe ultimate organiser is nature”. a word she became a nag. Mark tried to Ayurveda Elements | Training, Tours, Treatments, Resorts, Hospitals Phone/fax: 0011 61 2 9904 775 • 17 Orchard Road, Chatswood NSW Australia 2067 • Copyright © Ayurveda Elements 2010   soften her with more attention and affectionReaping the harvest but she was too focussed on work to“See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds appreciate him. Feeling like he was taken forwith joy and love triumphing” –Milton. granted Mark considered divorce. After some counselling Liz realised that she was blowing“See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds Markʼs slightly selfish traits out of proportionwith joy and love triumphing” –Milton. because she had grown up with a grosslyAs the garden gifts us with abundant results chauvinistic father. Liz reconnected with   8  
  9. 9. Markʼs good qualities and recaptured her love peace of heart, peace of soul. Plant four rowsfor him through quality time together. As Liz of squash: Squash gossip, squashlearned the hard way, whenever problems indifference, squash grumbling, squasharise we need to re-examine our seed beliefs. selfishness. Plant four rows of lettuce:Just as nature undergoes cycles of dormancy Lettuce be faithful, lettuce be kind, lettuce beand growth the Natural Path takes us through patient, lettuce really love one another. Nophases of quite introspection to active garden is complete without turnips: Turnip forproductive periods. We need to find a meetings, turnip for service, turnip to help onebalance between analysis and action. another. To conclude, our garden must have thyme: Thyme for each other, thyme forExcessive analysis causes stagnant paralysis family, thyme for friends. Water freely withand thoughtless action leads to regretful patience and cultivate with love. Yours will beresults. Whenever weʼre in a quandary we a fruitful garden, because you reap what youneed to go within and access higher intuition. sow –Anonymous.This requires stillness and silence, as motherTheresa said, “God is the friend of silence”.But once we know what to do we shouldnʼtdelay in doing what we know, in a masterfuland intensely mindful way. Then wanderingthrough your blossoming garden I hope youshare Emersonʼs realisation that “in thetranquil landscape… man beholds somewhatas beautiful as his own nature.” Plant three rows of peas: Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of soul. Plant four rows of squash: Squash gossip, squash indifference, squash grumbling, squash selfishness. Plant four rows of lettuce: Lettuce be faithful, lettuce be kind, lettuce be patient, lettuce really love one another. No garden is complete without turnips: Turnip for meetings, turnip for service, turnip to help one another. To conclude, our garden must have thyme: Thyme for each other, thyme for family, thyme for friends. Water freely with patience and cultivate with love. Yours will be a fruitful garden, because you reap what youHOW TO GARDEN LOVE sow –Anonymous.Plant three rows of peas: Peace of mind, Ayurveda Elements | Training, Tours, Treatments, Resorts, Hospitals Phone/fax: 0011 61 2 9904 775 • 17 Orchard Road, Chatswood NSW Australia 2067 • Copyright © Ayurveda Elements 2010     9