Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quiet Contemplation

There are times in your life when you just need to wind down. Need to find some little corner to be alone and think. Or maybe you’re not even sure what it is you need, but you just feel in a funk. And nothing you have tried – family, food, or friends – has helped.

I found myself in such a state recently. Restless. Listless. Fidgety. Dull. Spastic boredom. Twitchy tiredness. I could go on but i think you get my meaning. I needed the energy of quietness, somewhere close by, that i could both step away and step inside. Step away from the confusing clutter of my life and just – breathe. I like breathing. ;-) Aside from the obvious, it’s such a pure way to de-stress and let go of baggage. And step inside – into that quiet place in your heart. That wellspring of glowing light. Peace.

And so it was that a friend of mine introduced me to the Garden of the Saints. A place of quietness and simplicity. It isn’t a formal garden of exacting design, but a workman’s garden of rambling delight. It is Winter now and much is leafless – but not lifeless. For there are buds swelling with pale green energy. And here and there are tiny snow drops peeking out from the brown mold of January. So many different plants and trees have been planted here, such diversity. It’s an old garden. Olive trunks are twisted, knotted, and gnarled into shapes that remind me of old men’s faces. Lovely strawberry trees are heavy with bright fruit and delicate white blossoms that bend the evergreen boughs earthward. Naked fig. Blossoming camellia. Pine and fir. And the beautiful ginkgo, its thick buds lined up like monks along a path. The Garden has a good, clean smell. I walked the grounds and felt the loveliness of this place rejuvenate me.

I like this time of year, though others may think it barren and dead. There is a lot going on that demands sensitive observation. Everything is still and quiet on the surface. But if you listen closely, you can hear the Earth. You can sense the pulse. Feel the pregnancy of plant and planet alike. A wave in the Ocean gathering, gathering, gathering itself to suddenly release its power on the unsuspecting shore. Here i walked for hours and meditated in peace. And that kind of joy cannot be described with words.

If you find yourself in need of some quiet space, some reflective time, visit the Garden of the Saints. It is completely free and open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 6 AM till 8:30 PM or dusk. I have not described nearly in full all the delights of this place, i leave that for you to discover, but i do ask that if you go – go in humility and tranquility. Be respectful. Be quiet. Be at Peace.

The Garden of the Saints is owned by the Vedanta Society of Sacramento. Click here for the address and directions. If you wish to know more about the society, click here.

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