Shelter Animal Reiki Association

Shelter Animal Reiki Association

Finding Perfection in Imperfection: My Zen Garden Meditation

Today I gardened in my Zen garden, and pondered on how my gardening was actually a meditation practice in itself.  As I gardened, I thought, the symbolism in my garden provides for an amazing reflection on life in general; but still, how does this relate to Animal Reiki?

As I pulled weeds, I blessed and thanked them for their time in my garden.   I experienced nature big and small.  I felt the cool breezes as I carefully worked to preserve tiny bugs and spiders, and listened to the birds cheering me on as I worked “the path.”  I humbly continued to bless the nature that visited me as I worked in the garden: thank you little butterfly for visiting my flowers, thank you little worm for nourishing the dirt.

My garden has stepping stones winding through a white sand “lake,” with potted flowers and planted peonies along the path, leading to the front door of my home.  I felt that the birds were cheering me on, much like the friends, teachers, pets, and family that have “cheered me on” through the ups and downs of my life path.  I felt that each stepping stone was another teacher, another friend, even a stranger, that helped me to learn each life lesson.  The sun was hot as I worked through the day, but the cheery chirps and tweets of the birds continued to coax me to keep going.

I felt gratitude for each person and animal that has helped me along my path. I felt gratitude for my little dog, Chuck: one of my greatest teachers, as he snoozed on the grass nearby.  I looked at the quickly darkening sky and the threat of rain looming, worried that I would not be able to finish my gardening in time. Drat! Then, I seemed to hear Chuck’s “doggie voice” reminding me: You, like the garden, are always in process: never finished, always on the path, just remember to stay on the path!

My garden seemed to be a bit of a mess as I worked along.  It has been some time since I’ve weeded it, and the once white sand “lake” was full of dark seeds, leaves, weeds, and sticks. My once beautiful peonies have slumped over and their blooms are dried up.  The stepping stones along the path are cracking from the harsh Wisconsin seasons, and one of my Buddha statues is peeling.  Again, I felt that this was an analogy to life in general. My path is not meant to be perfect.  I am the perfection in imperfection, because I am perfect just the way I am! My mind is often cluttered with busy thoughts instead of focused on the present moment, but that’s OK.

Now I start to get angry at the weeds, ripping out large patches of them at a time with both hands.  I realize that I’m perhaps “hangry,” really, as I’m a little dehydrated and hungry from the heat.  The precepts continue to show up: “Do not anger,” reminds me that it’s time to take a break from gardening.  Just as in life, if we all took a little break when we were angry instead of immediately reacting, wouldn’t things work out for the better?

Back at it after lunch and re-hydration. I keep moving, weeding along the path back “home.” Doing my work diligently, doing my best to be mindful in everyday life. I feel more at “home” in my body when I am mindful of my thoughts and feelings.  I am kinder to myself and others when I am able to take time to pause and go within.

And then, finally, the final step: my favorite of all.  I raked beautiful, flowing designs into the garden sand as I mindfully chanted the Reiki symbols and offered Reiki to all of the animals and people that have lit my way along this sometimes dark and winding path, and to all of those that would walk with me on my path into the future. Suddenly, I see how it all relates back to Animal Reiki…

Tiffany Kneeland
SARA Teacher

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