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Avant-Gardening: Action-Meditation, Creativity, and Spiritual Growth

{written by : Frank and Vicky Giannangelo}

Article word count : 2316 -- Article Id : 1893
Article active date : 2009-04-04 -- Article views : 11924


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AVANT-GARDENING: a creative process, a technique for growing personal creativity using plants as a medium to connect the garden outside to your inner-garden vision. It is a method of combining art, which is abstract, with craft when working with a physical medium. It is a door, a path...





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The core of creativity is alchemy - the root of creative thinking - the basis for Avant-Gardening. Alchemy: from middle Latin: Alchymia – transformation - to change in shape. To cause something to come into being is from the Latin: Create: to make. Personal creativity is a connection with the creative forces of the universe. You will have many creative moments of opportunity to shift the paradigms - to step beyond yourself and your “limitations”. There are no limits to creativity. As you grow your garden, you can grow yourself in the process. In the garden, creativity is rewarded by beauty and peace. Solitude is the core of happiness, and creative solitude is the core of fulfillment. You can grow. You can step beyond your present self, and create a new self-reality. All gardens, in a sense, are a form of autobiography. “Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The realization of the actualization/creation is your validation. The proof is in the radish, so to speak. You have gone through the process, and you see the results. This gives you confirmation/confidence knowing your worthwhile intentions, actions, and results have materialized. These results can promote a self-security and trust. You are in lockstep with the universe - moving in unison with the forces of nature. The expression of your unique inner-garden vision has developed a self-reality in action - what you are doing is valid and validated. Cognizance of the experience of this process allows a “growth recognition”- the perception or knowledge of something as true or valid.

True growth is unconscious - it is an accumulated appreciation of change (a garden is always changing). Unconscious growth is directed by Action-Meditation, ”allowing the mental present focus to consume the moment fulfilling a projected vision, allowing plants as catalyst.” Your perception of these changes allows you to give your answer to the universe, which is asking for your uniqueness. In this replication is your connection with the creative forces of the universe.

Personal creativity is your birthright - before damage from “Media Diseases” - that continual input from TV, radio, culture, and opinions. You are directing your life’s story. Mentally, physically and spiritually - you create your destiny, your reality. If you are mentally prepared, physically fit, and spiritually attuned - the relation between your mental and physical awareness- you can begin to create the world you uniquely see.

In your inner-garden plot, and in your soul, you nurture creative growth and expression through avenues of process awareness, connective forces, and design. If you are aware of the process, you can recognize the moments of creative opportunity, and will be able to act upon them. Creativity is inherent, and by using the mind-heart-body connective forces, we can develop techniques and our ability to express them. You are creating a connection with potential by listening to your mind’s eye, seeing your visualizations. Sitting quietly, close your eyes and try to visualize your garden. Visualization is the key to creativity. Can you see any patterns? Rows of beds intersecting, and intertwining. Circular beds with interlocking trellis? Pools and ponds?

Visualize the changes in your garden these patterns would make. Visualize a pond and a few trellises. By directing your visualizations towards being in harmony with your garden’s setting - the terrain, layout, colors, shapes, where the sun rises and sets, and the space you are working with, you can reach for a practical ideal. If you can see the possibilities in your mind, you are well on you way to creating them.

Facts, ideas and relationships within the garden setting allow you to fashion a “working together”, a moving intrinsic garden growing forward to the end goal ideal put forth by your “purposive planning” for the expression of an ideal.

Without planning and ideals, you will wander about with chaotic thought and deeds. By your aiding the progressive growth of your garden, you can grow. Potential can become actual - seed can become flower. A world is waiting for a connection with you to attain its greatest potential.

Using plants as a catalyst we can make the connection with creative forces inherent in the universe. From seed (mental reality) to flower (material reality) the direction of your mental and physical energies is an Action-Meditation, “that point of focus that becomes your creative mental reality.”

Approach it as a regular meditative practice with the emphasis on practice. (Weeding, planting, thinning, and attending each plant so that when you are done with it, is at its peak in that “moment of perfection”.) This repetition will bring improved skills that will appear one day an “satori moment” of growth recognition, that which once was done with effort and concentration now is performed with concentration less ease and the mind is open to expanded creative avenues. As you work in your garden this state of mind is highly charged with potential. It is in a state of quiet attentiveness, with nothing clouding your mind, that creative possibilities are seen. When you just “receptive”, the possibilities appear. By understanding your creativity in relation to this whole and by exploring and working with these spiritual, mental and physical laws of the universe, you will realize that…

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it is attached to the rest of the world." John Muir

True growth is unconscious - your awareness of growth is an “accumulated appreciation of change”. The rewards of this growth-recognition is a realization/recognition of basic changes - in your garden and your self. You will have broken the cycle of daily brain wave mis-allocations brought about from Media Disease … being bombarded with problems that you have no control over Vs problems in the garden setting that you do have control over.

Benefits accrued are proven methods of stress reduction: the focus upon immediate issues. For example, the observation and assessment of each plant’s immediate needs plus that need in relation to the whole. Creative interpretation is using consequence to determine meaning. This natural working regimen of bending, stooping, kneeling, reaching, digging the soil, and watering can also keep the body supple with “body-friendly” natural exercise.

Replication - your answer to the universe, which is asking for your uniqueness, which comes from understanding your inherent creative abilities.

The nascent garden provides opportunity to trade a present dissatisfaction for a future satisfaction allowing for an implicit trust in universal-friendliness, beginning with your first hand experience with something small, such as the radish seed. radishes are easy to grow, have a relatively short fruition period and end up satisfying to harvest, behold, and consume. Success promotes confidence that will spread to every aspect of your life, boosting those areas with new energies, just as your plants need nutrients to boost their growth. These are yours alone, and belong to no one else. Only you can find and recognize them. The following are virtues that feed replication:

Patience: Waiting is often harder than the work involved. Take delight in your anticipations.

Planning: True planning is an on location experience and can result in a successful garden and a pleasurable experience. It all starts with an “end-goal focus”, a purposive direction. “The acts of today are the destiny of tomorrow...”

Optimism: Sow the seeds of optimism, work hard, and watch them sprout.

Persistence: “Adversity Happens” - don’t allow yourself to be discouraged, refuse to be defeated by pests, weeds, or weather. A seed desires to grow even more than you wish it to. Make a real commitment.

Attention: A good garden is a garden that is observed carefully. Assess the garden as an entity, and notice any reflections of your self.

Faith: Faith is the inspiration of creative imagination -a garden can become a “sanctuary of reminders” that we are also part of a larger design.

Gratitude: “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, it is the parent of all other virtues.” Cicero

Pattern discloses the individual aspect of energy and personality. Patterns are unique. They preview ideals to be strived for and perhaps attained. It satisfies the mind to express a perfect pattern of exquisite harmony, and plants will respond to garden aesthetics. These relationships between your mind and your physical endeavors can become a spiritual attunement - your harmony with the universe. This harmony is a meaningful routine rhythm - coordinating the limited physical (impersonal) demands such as watering, weeding, etc, with the unlimited (mental) possibilities and spiritually expressed by the unifying of experience and expression. Value is thus superimposed on meaning, creating a sense of gratitude. This we have observed: “…Neither mind nor spirit are as easily moved as a shovel, full of dirt.”

Steps in Creativity:

1. Fact: (physical) It has been shown that deliberate physical activity can initiate favorable brain- activity changes. These changes allow escape from stasis and the breaking of old patterns by instilling a new habit. Habit promotes confidence and aids in the establishment of creative control. A practical consequence of good garden habits is that it becomes beneficial to both garden and individual. Habit is necessary for ideal/idea implementation and clears the vision to more easily recognize those precipitous moments of “possibility opportunity”.

2. Idea: (mental) “The will doing the work of the imagination.” George Will

3. Relationship: (spiritual) - a unification establishing that relation of the garden outside to the inner-garden vision.

Fact, idea, and relationship are the coordinates of a symbiotic relationship with the source of creation. Fact, idea, and relationship grow from the understanding brought about by first hand experience to a point where, "Knowledge becomes a matter of instantly recognizing patterns rather than an
act of sequential thought.” Lewis H. Laphorn

This form of “knowledge” is arrived at and brought about with the aid of Action-Meditation. It is within those moments of quiet detachment that thought becomes creative, and new patterns and visions are seen. Everything is eternally new - this is seen by the plants and garden dynamics. The garden is in constant change and its growth provides the arena within which your inner-vision develops. Creative thoughts are stimulated in a peaceful garden.

Observation - personal scrutiny - firsthand experience - promotes clarity. This clarity is clouded by Media Disease, which promotes a sense of being powerless and left with a “Creative Deficiency Syndrome” - a daily disorder of brain wave mis-allocations and stress. This leads to a lack of purposive planning, which undermines productivity leaving an unsatisfactory nagging. We must take control and trade our present dis-satisfactions for future satisfactions. We can do this through everyday habits we create in the garden setting: watering, weeding, harvesting, seeding, all those things needed to create the reality of your inner-garden vision.

Habit instills confidence and aids in the establishment of creative control - a practical consequence of good garden habits beneficial to both the garden and the individual. Control necessitates habits, which are needed for implementation. These immediate needs and the attention they require will naturally reduce stress. Our productivity will increase, as well as our sense of satisfaction. This spirit leading is a tap into the creative flow. Trust in this process of life that gives you the answers if you would only recognize and have the determination to follow the urges to know from within what universal beauty is and, ”The acts of today will be the destiny of tomorrow.”

This re-creation of reality will allow you to focus on your newly discovered creativity since, ”Reality does not rest in the eye of the beholder, but rather in that which is beheld.” That precipitous moment of possibility opportunity is when the collective soul/soil is gleaned by the efforts of the individual to recreate through oneself the beauty of the universe.

Precipitous moment > Practical assessment > Implementation
The garden vision > Transformation > The new reality
Mental (idea) > Physical (fact) > Spiritual (relation)
Soil > The connection > Soul

Fruits of the Avant-Garden: fruition is the true enjoyment that is a result of ideal conceptualization and realization. Creativity, joy, satisfaction, and certainty are results of a balance and unification between body, mind and spirit. Fact, idea, and relationship are the coordinates of a symbiotic relationship with the source of creation. Ideal conceptualization is a connection of the best parts of your inner self with your outer expressions. Building and expanding life’s daily intentions with a new vision and confidence, enhances present talents and future possibilities.

Through art and creative design - the form and the formula of the imagination - we are able to intelligently assemble and coordinate related data. Form is the artistic placement of basic elements. Meaningful routine rhythms of human experience are the key to creative thought. Using Action-Meditations we can become fact illustrators through physical, mental and spiritual coordination. By discovering our own unique creative solitude, that quiet place within us where creativity originates, we are able to reach our potentials and become fruitful in the process. The impersonal physical demands of the garden, for it to become productive, are pleasant routines that establish our possibility spectrum, which is unlimited - our mental, personal creative possibilities. The experience and expression is our spiritual, social relationship with the world and the people in it.

Meaning - Productive adaptability - allows you to be in harmony with the natural universe. “One rule of successful gardening is to work with, and not against, the natural settings...”

Value - Progress-ability - allows you to be able to look back and see your gardens growth, as well as your own. You have escaped stasis - stagnation.

Gratitude - Joy - the simplest form of gratitude.

“If you want to be happy for an hour, have a party. If you want to be happy for a week, kill your pig and eat it. But if you want to be happy all your life, become a gardener" Old Chinese Saying

Author Bio :
A Sharing of Insights into the Creative Aspects of Organic Gardening by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo "Growing with the Seasons"
http://www.avant-gardening.com

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