This morning in meditation class I spent some time with my thoughts and my feelings.  They race.  A lot. Some are good, some are okay, and some are not so good.  I wish to keep the good ones.  Not the okay, and not the not-so-good.  I went to an empty field in my subconscious.  I asked a contractor to come with me, the contractor that always builds things for me in my subconscious.  He never turns me down.  “I want a vault,” I told him.  “I’m not building you a vault.  You want to lock things up?”  He asked, not expecting an answer.  “You are going to have to build your own.”  And with that he turned around and deserted me there.

I could build my own vault.  This was my subconscious.  All I had to do was imagine it, and it would manifest.  I could make it as vast and secure as I wanted.  I could store everything I didn’t want to ever visit again in there.  I could hide it all away forever, where none of it would be felt or thought of again, where it all could just rot. 

So I built a Japanese Zen Garden.  A beautiful garden with a stream and a bridge and a pond and a place to sit and just look at it all.  I sent the okay and not-so-good thoughts and feelings packing.  They were not to be held on to, so they left.  When we do that, when we let those thoughts and feelings go, they do so, because that is our will. 

It is a beautiful garden with a stream and a bridge and a pond and, like I already mentioned, a place to sit and just look at it all.

There are trumpet-shaped Azalea’s in pink, yellow, salmon, red, violet and white, blasting their colors into the sky above.  If you stand next to them you can feel their colors launch through the space you are in and pass through your mind, painting your thoughts, your good thoughts, with beauty as they went on their way. 

And there is bamboo to give structure to each moment, the perfect plant from which to build with.  My thoughts and feelings, the good ones, were memories that needed to rest after a day of exercise and play, and this bamboo provided a home for them.  And it provided the bridge from which to cross in solitude, or from which to jump from to the cool water below when in the mood for euphoric play. 

Camellia grows for hundreds of years, a constant reminder that this garden is forever, and will only bristle more with life as time goes on, never one to die. 

The Cherry Tree blesses this garden each season, breaking up the monotony of time passing into times remembered. 

The Hosta gives shade in times when shade is needed, when my feelings need to have seclusion, when my thoughts need to hide from the judgments and expectations of others. 

Hydrangea gives a celebratory flavor to this garden, beautifying it simply to do so.  Sometimes in life beauty is just simply that, and this flower reminds me of that.

The Iris pulls water from the stream and fills the air with moisture.  All living things need that moisture.  We are all water, fluid, and with the Iris in this garden that fluidity is all around. 

The Lotus sprinkles its zest for living in the pond.  Each flower gives the loving water below it purpose.  A reason to be there so that the flower may grow, just like each of us has a reason to be so that others may grow. 

And the Wisteria Vine paints in the voids.  The garden is not complete without it, weaving its way through every open space, giving background to the setting.  There is no need for a wall, or a fence, or any constructed barrier.  The vine provides an encasing that lives and breathes and invites all to come in. 

I built a garden.  It was such a better choice than a vault.   

Chris Plante

October 23, 2018