The Garden of Human Consciousness (Updated)

Looking out across the garden of human consciousness that encircles the globe, the sight is more than a little disheartening. At first it appears to be nothing but weeds. Only after an assiduous search is a blooming flower found amid the tangle of bind weed and burgeoning tumbleweeds. It wasn’t supposed to look like this.

What is not overgrown stretches forth dry and dusty, stubble amid powder. How could anything grow in this area? It’s a desert. Digging up the seeds that were planted reveals that most of them sprouted.  The stubble shows that they did sent up stems and stalks but then withered. No leaves and certainly no flowers; nothing sadder than a garden that doesn’t flower.

A soil analysis shows the nutrients are all there. Fertilizer is stacked in the barn, never applied. The sprinkler system hasn’t operated all season but works perfectly fine when turned on. This flower garden was abandoned—but why?

The human condition is like this flower garden—so similar—so sad. What was supposed to happen? What would the garden have looked like? The myriad blooms? What colors, textures, forms, poetic names and music would have sounded forth from these vast and verdant acres of infinite possibility?

The human newborn hears the story about its future and sets about creating a survival strategy that will insure a successful beginning. As a “seed” it is healthy and sprouts. Once above ground the sun delivers its energy on schedule. But in some parts of the garden the conditions are not so favorable and many of the young humans wither and die. Not enough water and nutrients.

For those that survive, the spring season leads to the development of the ego, the persona, the false self and the behaviors closely linked to this natural but what nature intends as a temporary identity. This early P-B environment and fragile identity will not result in a flower but a patch of weeds feeding off one another without cooperation and compassion. Highly reactive, susceptible to illusion, most of humanity has squandered its energy fleeing the mirage of chaos or fighting imaginary enemies, “fear-frozen” in an inhospitable spring.

This inchoate garden of human consciousness is full of toxic weeds, the result of self-destructive habits of the conditioned false self. The mind tortures itself, trembling at the prospect of aging, disease and death, or trapped in the past, which seems to have been an experience of reality but in most cases not a good one. How do we weed this garden of the mind before the plant dies?

First, when a weed (reaction) threatens to take root, stop and breathe. We feed weed by identifying with and reacting to the body, mind and emotions. Stop and breathe each time a weed pokes through the surface of the conditioned mind. Refusing to react, to feed and nurture the weed causes it to wither and die. Furthermore, the breath invites the master gardener to assist in pulling the weeds in the garden of the mind. The True self, our higher consciousness, is always available to support our efforts to tend our garden.

Then we water the garden with the refreshing practice of meditation. This quiet interface with Simple Reality strengthens the new identity as it observes the triple illusion of mind, body and emotion—the source of all weeds. Understanding the origins and nature of weeds empowers us to prevent their germination.

Fertilize the garden by studying the teaching of mystics, sages and poets. The perfect combination of sun, soil and moisture (awareness) prepares the soil for the blooming of the Great Insight (Oneness). Further, aerate the soil with silence, simplicity and solitude.

An acorn can only become an oak. We must not waste our energy trying to become something that we are not. Our true identity does not involve the pursuits of plenty, pleasure and power nor endless having, doing and knowing. Craving and aversion saps our strength, poisons our mind and prevents the flowering of compassion.

We can bring the garden of human consciousness back to its natural state. A flowering of humanity is possible. Thousands of years ago the ancient Vedic scriptures spoke of our true identity in one of humanity’s greatest revelations: “I AM THAT!” We do not have to work hard to produce a flower. We are the flower.


References and notes are available for this essay.  Find a much more in-depth discussion in books by Roy Charles Henry:

Where Am I?  The First Great Question Concerning the Nature of Reality

Simple Reality: The Key to Serenity and Survival 


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