It will be 72 degrees today where I live. Spring is on its way and this will be a good day for me to do some cleanup on my property.
I live on ten acres of rural land. Half of that is allowed to grow as nature (and God) intended. I am the steward and personally maintain the other half. On the five acres I do maintain I grow fruit trees, nut trees, and garden organically. I also have designed my “homestead” around ecological concerns and for season-round beauty.
Even with that said there is more to my property (and its pragmatic beauty) than meets the eye. I double garden – for my physical body and my soul.
My property, with its orchards and garden, do more than just provide outdoor activities to enliven my spirit. My property symbolizes my deepest values, worldview and religion. When I look out into my garden I see the inner qualities of my heart and mind. I see myself as God sees me. That is why I pay attention to my inner garden with the hope that the ideas growing in it are as God intended.
The ground, which supports my physical feet, is a perfect metaphor for the principles that support my spiritual beliefs (the feet of my spirit). Since the fertility of my soil comes from incorporating organic techniques it certainly is a physical expression of my holistic worldview. Everything I grow and harvest from this soil is a physical analogy and representation of the thoughts and feelings I cultivate in my spirit.
This double gardening is not simply an ability to think poetically or merely using clever plays on words. Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg offered abundant evidence that all the natural things we observe in the world with our eyes portray precise spiritual qualities. This lock-and-key relationship between physical and spiritual realms is ontologically real.
I was inspired to design my garden to gain spiritual wisdom—by closely observing all its natural processes and distilling an elevated spiritual lesson from it all. My first book Sermon From The Compost Pile was based on these observations. I hadn’t simply replaced the Bible with my garden to find God, either. Much of Swedenborg’s evidence that the physical and spiritual worlds correspond to each other comes right out of the pages and narratives of Holy Scripture. For instance, when one grasps that the story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis is written in a language that incorporates these correspondences, more of what God is actually communicating can be revealed. Take this holy passage from Deuteronomy 32:13 –
Jehovah maketh him to ride on the high places of the earth, and feedeth him with the increase of the fields, and maketh him to suck honey out of the rock . . .
This passage refers to someone allowing God to “elevate” his or her understanding of religion and faith. This new understanding becomes the increase of the fields and the harvest (spiritual food) within our soul-scape or spiritual garden. Consider this—God’s whole purpose in communicating with us is to feed and nourish our souls.
Swedenborg’s systematic approach to theology and Bible interpretation (exegesis) through the science of correspondences has given me the power to distill higher meaning from God’s Holy Word. In other words, I can now “suck honey out of rocks.”