Poets and philosophers often compare the human mind to a garden. In keeping with this thought, you can use meditation to cultivate and grow healthy thoughts. I’ve provided three sample meditations below using garden themes – planting seeds, observing the change of seasons, and welcoming the harvest. Try one or more of these as a way to enhance or even start a meditation practice, one of the healthiest activities you can do for yourself.

Meditation Using Planting Seeds as Inspiration

  • Focus on the right motives. We all want better results, but we have to start by putting the right motives into place. Imagine that you’re planting seeds for a loving marriage, career or business success just like you’d plant seeds for roses.
  • Explore the relationship between causes and effects. Analyze your life for evidence of both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. Look at how your actions initiated or supported what happened and how you reacted.
  • Pick one positive example. Narrow in on a time when your positive efforts paid off. Maybe you helped your child get better grades, befriended a new neighbor, or helped a co-worker.
  • Focus on that positive feeling. Enjoy the delight and satisfaction of knowing you brightened someone’s spirits, made their efforts more productive, or encouraged another person to feel better about themselves. It will help you become more certain that your actions have a direct bearing on helping you to feel good.
  • Make a daily resolution. Hold on to that positive and inspirational feeling. Come up with practical tasks for creating and acting on better motives. It could be as simple as allowing another commuter to board a bus before you each morning or sending a friendly, lets-stay-in-touch email to the former coworker you enjoyed associating with.

Meditation Using the Change of Seasons

  • Carefully observe your surroundings. Take a closer look at the environment around you. Think about how different everything looks covered by snow and ice or dried out by the hot summer sun. Even if you live in a location where the weather is mostly stable year round, there will still be subtle signs of change – get to know the surroundings and you will start to see the changes that may have escaped your notice previously.
  • Consider the transitions in your own life. Ponder the shifts in your emotions and mindset that take place internally. You’ve grown from a tiny little embryo into an powerful, functioning adult. For example, you might now love the same vegetables you used to secretly feed to the dog when you were little, and they are a part of your desire to eat healthier and promote a better lifestyle.
  • Accept gains and losses. All of the ups and downs are likely to teach you that change is inevitable. Imagine yourself staying calm and focused throughout the cycle of rising and falling – you have the strength and the knowledge to keep moving forward no matter what happens around you.
  • Monitor your reactions to daily events. Try to apply the lesson of change to various situations you’re faced with. Experiment with maintaining a neutral attitude and emotional state whether you hit a red or green traffic light, for instance. The slowdown of a red light is only temporary, and the forward momentum of a green light helps to continue your progress.

Meditation With a Theme about Welcoming the Harvest

  • Think back to the past. For generations, most people earned their living by working with and on the land. Naturally, the harvest was a time for special celebration, seeing the fruits of their labor and rejoicing in the knowledge they gained. Put yourself in their place for a few moments and visualize what it would be like to reap the rewards of the work you put in. Delayed gratification – putting in the work for a later payoff instead of an instant reward. Talk with your grandparents or elders in your community to ask about their memories or watch movies about farming families to get you in the mood.
  • Count your blessings. Whatever our circumstances, we are all gathering what we planted, fed and cultivated. Make a list of the good things in your life, including your loving family, meaningful work, sufficient food, sound mental and physical health, and spiritual realizations. Sometimes it takes listing all of our blessings to help us recognize them and appreciate them.
  • Thank others for their efforts. Our ancestors helped build each other’s homes and barns because they knew they needed each other to survive. Be honest about how difficult it would be for you to try and accomplish everything you need to do all on your own. Reflect on how your friends, loved ones and even strangers contribute to your sense of well being. Say some words of thanks mentally to yourself and to others whenever you get the opportunity – because showing gratitude is a great way to lift your spirits.
  • Give something back to help others. Devote some of your expertise and time to creating a good harvest for your future. Evaluate your actions, deciding how they strengthen your abilities, family, and community, and reinforce those that give you the positive results you desire. Make a vow to spend quality time with your family or put effort into volunteer work.

Your mind is a garden where you are in control of what to plant and grow. Pick a comfortable spot, be mindful of your breath, and guide your thoughts toward tending a peaceful and positive mind.