I live in a subdivision that has 3-acre lots. Some lots are heavily wooded, and others have been logged and large lawns planted. Our lot is one of the heavily wooded ones. We like it because of the privacy it affords. We don’t like the tendency for trees to lose branches or fall over when hurricanes blow through our town. Some of those trees have come awfully close to crashing onto the house. The other reason we don’t like the woods is weeds. Nature, in her wisdom, seems to be unbiased in what she allows to grow and flourish. Weeds, it seems, are easy to grow,and nature gives them free rein.
One particular weed that would earn us a small fortune if we could turn it into a cash crop is chamberbitter. Chamberbitter, also known as gripeweed, leafflower and little mimosa, grows profusely in warm weather. It is easily recognizable because of the alternately arranged leaves that are graduated in size, larger near the stem and smaller at the end. This pretty little plant harbors an insidious reproduction mechanism. Under each and every leaf is a seed. One six-inch tall plant can hold hundreds of seeds. Pulling them out of the ground is easy but tedious work. Every summer, it is a constant battle to keep them from overwhelming my flower beds.
As I pull each plant, careful not to dislodge any seeds, a kind of moving meditation begins to take place. I realize that there are things within myself that are just as obnoxious and unwelcome as the chamberbitter. There are thoughts, feelings, behaviors, beliefs, and actions within me that don’t serve my highest good. All of these are part of the BS – Belief System – each of us has. The specific thoughts, feelings, behaviors, beliefs, and actionsare different for us, but the title “BS” is the same. Our Belief Systems are created inside our own minds, based on our life experiences beginning at a very early age. There is no such thing as objective reality. We each create our own reality through the nature of our experiences.
The best illustration I have for this is the large wooden fences erected around building projects when I was a child. Sporadically, a knothole had been poked through, and we could catch a glimpse of the building taking form behind the wall. The view was limited by the size of the knothole and its place around the perimeter of the project. If there were a hundred knotholes, each perspective would be slightly different. Yet each of us would believe we had seen the entirety of the project and our view was “true.” So it is with the mind. We believe what the mind perceives and what it stores away as “true.”
As I’ve grown in chronological years and spiritual wisdom, it’s easy to see that much of what I believe is BS. This is valid for my beliefs about the world, for myself, and for near and dear to me. The longer I’m on the spiritual path, the more I see how limited and limiting those beliefs are. This is not always a comfortable realization – who wants to be less confident as they age? Yet, this uncertainty is necessary if I’m to continue on the upward path of personal evolution. I have to uproot what no longer serves me if I am to plant that which can help me.
The weeds in my mind are all the perfectly human things that I identify with that make me seem like “me.” That’s why I group them all together as my thoughts, feelings, behaviors, beliefs,and actions. This is my BS. When I operate on auto-pilot, my BS is on full display. If my thoughts are critical and judgmental, I begin to feel ornery. When I feel ornery, my behavior follows suit. I treat other people as if I believed that they were the problem. My actions are then allowed to be destructive to them and to me.
As I pull the weeds from my garden and from my mind, I am left with fresh, virgin soil. I can decide what to do with that soil. I can plant something functional or beautiful or low-maintenance. I can just lay down a thick layer of mulch to discourage the return of weeds. The same is true for my mind. Once the weeds of thought are pulled, what will I plant in their place? For the weeds of worry, I sow being present in the moment. Living in the past or the future isn’t really living. For the weeds of self-doubt, I cultivate the idea that “it isn’t I but the Christ within” who shows up as me. For the weeds of anger, I place the ability to put myself in another’s shoes. For the weeds of fear, I supplant the truth that I am a spiritual being having a human experience, and because of that, all is well no matter what happens.
I invite you into the garden of your own mind. Pull weeds, plant food for your spiritual growth. Happy gardening!