Explore In the Garden Is a Mirror; in the Mirror Is The Beloved, Matthew David’s guest stories for Fruit-Powered Digest.
The body is a garden and our will is the gardener. It is equipped with everything it needs to become a thriving bastion of vibrant beauty. Our blood is a fertile soil that shelters and nourishes a myriad of living creatures; creatures who have the potential to live in harmony and co-create a paradise within. It is up to us as the gardeners to make certain we create all the conditions that these creatures require to give them a safe comfortable and desirable place to feel at home.
A garden depends on so many processes and procedures that the gardener is unequipped to carry out, just as the body requires a great deal more than we can consciously supply. Without the countless bacteria and other microorganisms that harmoniously live and play within us, we would find ourselves deficient in a great many of the essential facets of nourishment and life. Without the butterflies, bees and even mosquitos, how would all of our plants exchange their pollen and bring one another into fruition? Without the beneficial microorganisms in healthy garden soil, how would the nitrogen become available as food for the plants therein?
Now we come to a crossroads in how we direct our will to the care of these gardens. If we wish to create harmony and reap abundant vitality, we must unlearn what our tragically industrialized society has imposed upon us. Whether it is the garden within or the garden around, we have come to believe that we are the victims of a siege that is beyond our control. We have been convinced that bacterias and viruses as well as squash bugs, caterpillars and Japanese beetles are the competition—that we must defeat them by any means necessary.
This paradigm is quite obvious and avoidable when you examine the conventional medical model or the system of industrial agriculture. The pharmaceutical empire and the agro-giants mince no words when it comes to their intentions. Someone who is even partially awake would get shivers down their spine when they are confronted with the laundry list of horrible side effects of modern drugs or the blatant levels of toxicity from industrial pesticides. However, this is not where it ends. We must remain even more vigilant of the passive-aggressive world of “alternative health” and “organic” agriculture.
In both cases, the unassuming onlooker is endlessly consoled by empty assurances that the “natural” products designed to “cure” what ails us are made from completely natural ingredients, so, of course, they are much better than their conventional industrial counterparts. Are organic pesticides and natural antibiotics better than the pharmacological or agro-industrial alternative? Absolutely. However, a punch in the face might feel “better” than a punch in the face and a stomp on the foot, but who would find either one desirable or necessary?
When you use natural antibiotics or special herbs that are intentionally targeting living organisms within your body, you are doing the same thing you would be doing if you used a natural or organic pesticide, fungicide, etc. in your garden. In such acts, you are ignoring the complexity of the micro-ecological system and destroying essential keys to balancing that system. If there is an unwanted presence within your body or within your garden, you must not be so hasty to forcefully eliminate that presence but rather stand back and discover what other conditions have created the imbalance in the first place.
When undesirable bacteria and viruses are present within our body, they are scavenging on decaying tissue and toxicity. The undesirable organisms themselves are not the cause of our problems but rather a symptom in and of themselves that will come into balance on its own if we make the proper arrangements and bolster the other living organisms of that inner system.
When undesirable insects are eating the plants in our garden, they are coming as representatives of the ecosystem to correct a weakness within itself. When the natural process of the forest is not mirrored in our garden strategy, our plants are too weak or unequipped to resist or prevent what we see as infestation.
In both instances, we must put aside our deeply embedded assumptions of victimization and see that we have created an imbalanced situation based on ignorance or attachment and that we have the ability to change it without making war against other vital, albeit seemingly undesirable, parts of that micro-ecosystem. More to the point, we would be wise to realize that any aggressive measures we might take against such undesirable organisms would be equally as offensive and problematic to the other organisms that would, if left unfettered, actually restore balance to the system as a whole.
The organisms and bacteria within us that produce valuable nutrients and work alongside our many bodily systems to create health and vitality are just as vulnerable to the natural antibiotics as the ones that we perceive as invaders or enemies—the ones that we are so quick to attack. Sometimes the bacterias we see as illness-causing are beneficial bacteria that are ordinarily balanced by a different organism. When something we are doing jeopardizes the population of that other organism, the imbalanced population of its counterpart can be viewed by a finite, fear-based awareness to be the cause of a problem.
If we want to see that example in our gardens, we need only wrap our minds around the relationship of predator and prey. When the beetles and caterpillars are wreaking havoc on our plants, we must ask ourselves if we have created a sufficient and desirable habitat for their predators. Have we left enough native plants to provide comfortable habitation and shelter for the jumping spiders and mantises? Have we sown perennial bushes and cover for small, insect-eating birds?
If we use lethal substances to kill the pests in our gardens or antibiotics to kill the bacteria within, we are decimating an entire eco-system—sending it into disarray and completely negating any chance of balance. When we use lethal organic sprays to kill the pests, we are either killing their predators or driving them away. Without established predators, we are chronically dependent upon those lethal organic concoctions. When we use antibiotics in our body, we do the same. We decimate the populations of organisms within and create vast voids in our defenses, leaving us vulnerable to all manner of imbalance. At this point, once again, we become dependent upon these aggressive measures of artificial defense.
So how do we maintain enough balance to not need the antibiotics, toxic herbs or pesticides? We put aside our cravings, attachments, preprogrammed notions of ecological cohabitation, and we carefully examine the model of nature.
For our body, we eat foods that, through ages of co-evolution, have designed themselves for us—the raw fruits and vegetables that are sweet, colorful and delicious in their unadulterated form. We listen carefully to the many signals of our body and provide ample time for rest and relaxation. We avoid air, water and noise pollution as much as is possible and eliminate the unnecessary stresses of the vanity-based consumerist society around us that is the leading cause of internal imbalance. Through this process, we are doing nothing more than getting our ego out of the way of nature’s perfect wisdom. We allow the ecology within to create a balanced harmonious environment in which every part of our physical body can thrive.
For our garden, we facilitate the time-tested process of the natural forest by building rich, fertile soil through the process of composting. We allow native plants and “weeds” to populate the space and provide copious space for habitation of beneficial insects. We leave all plants—even those that we pull—in their place to decompose and return the nutrients to the soil from which they were borrowed. We mulch deeply with rich organic material to protect the soil from evaporation and erosion, and to continue the unending cycle of nourishment and fertility. We diversify our planting strategy so that we never create an imbalanced over-concentration of one plant in one area. We pay attention to and honor the beneficial relationships of certain plants to their partners, and likewise understand that certain plants need space from others for their own very valid reasons. All of these aspects of a healthy, self-maintaining garden need not be learned from books or teachers but simply by spending time in nature and meditating on the careful complex process of the forest.
Whether we are tending the garden within or the garden around us, the wise among us will understand that we must surrender to the process of the larger part of our great selves. We cannot allow a fear-based compulsion for self-preservation to dictate the value of one life over another, as that kind of limited consciousness could not possibly grasp the infinite complexity of this interrelated web of life that we are a part of.
Whether we intend to use garlic to kill “harmful” bacteria in our body or tomato leaf tea to kill “pest” insects in our garden, we are allowing this unconscious compulsion to upset the balance of the entire system. When we realize and actualize our place in the larger system, we find the wisdom and faith to flow in harmony with all the various manifestations of life within that system.
Any time you find yourself making a judgment against another living being for the purposes of your own self-preservation, you must first ask yourself if everything you are doing is in alignment with the perfect ecological system of which you are a part. The greatest power we have is not in our ability to control that system but in our ability to surrender the cravings, attachments, and vices borne of our delusions of separateness—sacrificing such things to the benefit of the whole.
When we come to truly understand the intimate relationship of the body and the garden, of the spirit and the mind, then blood and soil become one in the same. Fear and lack are exposed as empty and illogical while, through witnessing the depth of our rich black blood, we can realize that the very essence of our composition is abundance and perfect wisdom.
Check out Matthew David’s transformation story!