I have designed my earthly garden around spiritual symbolism.
Basically, this means that I have taken the ancient idea that all things in physical nature represent spiritual qualities of the human mind and heart, and with that rarefied knowledge, I have designed a garden which best represents a heavenly environment. It is my hope that the quality and fruitfulness of my garden accurately reflects the deeper spiritual qualities that I have cultivated in the inner landscape of my heart and mind.
Since I see myself as a flawed man, who seeks God’s wisdom, I have allowed some aspects of my garden to take their natural (providential) course—and keep my ego and subjective leanings out of the plan. This is why I left half of my property to grow naturally into woodlands, and even left some of my own purposeful plantings to exercise their God-given traits, unhindered by me.
That’s what I did with my original planting of three blackberry plants. Instead of attaching them to tidy trellises, I let them freely spread. And boy, have they spread! (Shown above.)
The nice thing is that these blackberries have not only remained highly productive (and delicious) but have offered me a new situation to meditate on. What spiritual knowledge could be gleaned from a blackberry patch that was spreading with little challenge from my artificial interventions?
According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, plants symbolize (correspond to) the intellectual expressions of our memory, understanding and thoughts. A bramble is a hurtful (thorny) plant and therefore symbolizes hurtful and negative ideas in our psyche. (The crown of thorns that Christ wore on the cross symbolized the anger of unholy men.) However, since these brambles also produce wonderful fruit, they symbolize something more positive.
Since the thorns of the blackberry plant lead to delightful fruit, these brambles represent how the thorny conditions in our lives can also lead to positive results. In other words, we can each bend our ignoble thoughts into something beneficial and sweeter.
This lesson from the plant world is a universal law. There cannot be positive results unless we meet and become victorious over some negative and personally challenging condition. Painful things and experiences can lead to important life lessons and values if we are humble enough to learn. The fact that I am letting my bramble patch spread freely represents a willingness to have this conflict and inner challenge affect more and more of my psyche and inner world (soul).
My first book, Sermon From The Compost Pile shares many spiritual lessons and insights that I have learned from my earthly garden/paradise. These are lessons everyone can discover from the living processes of their own gardens, suburban backyards or even from a simple flowerpot on a windowsill in a city apartment!
This small book will show you how.