Quotes for
the Journey:

The Garden of Life



  
Where would the gardener be
if there were no more weeds?


Chuang Tzu

See also "The Journey of Life"

There is a little plant called reverence in the corner of my soul's garden, which I love to have watered once a week.       -Oliver Wendell Holmes

   

Just as you would not neglect seeds that you planted with the hope that they will bear vegetables and fruits and flowers, so you must attend to and nourish the garden of your becoming.       -Jean Houston

   

A garden that never died eventually would weary.  Robbed of springtime, unacquainted with the extraordinary perfume that rises from the soil after it’s had its rest, the garden that winter doesn’t visit is a dull place.  The return every spring of earth’s first freshness would never be kept if not for the frosts and rot and ripe deaths of fall.  So when I go out from the garden for the last time in autumn, I leave the gate open behind me.        -Michael Pollan

   
The comfortable and comforting people are those who look upon the bright side of life; gathering its roses and sunshine and making the most that happens seem the best.       -Dorothy Dix
   
Flowers never emit so sweet and strong a fragrance as before a storm.  Beauteous soul!  when a storm approaches thee, be as fragrant as a sweet-smelling flower.       -Jean Paul Richter
    
The best rose-bush, after all, is not that which has the fewest thorns, but that which bears the finest roses.       -Henry van Dyke

  
We're all assigned a piece of garden, a corner of the universe that is ours to transform.  Our corner of the universe is our own life--our relationships, our homes, our work, our current circumstances--exactly as they are.  Every situation we find ourselves in is an opportunity, perfectly planned by the Holy Spirit, to teach love instead of fear.         -Marianne Williamson

   

Our deeds are seed of fate, sown here on earth, but bringing forth their harvest in eternity.       -George Dana Boardman

   

All of us, children and adults, are beautiful flowers.  Our eyelids are exactly like rose petals, especially when our eyes are closed.  Our ears are like morning glories listening to the sounds of birds.  Our lips form a beautiful flower every time we smile.  And our two hands are a lotus flower with five petals.  The practice is to keep our "flowerness" alive and present, not just for our own benefit but for the happiness of everyone.       -Thich Nhat Hanh

   
For all these years you've protected the seed.  It's time to become the flower.       -Stephen C. Paul
   
A well-kept garden filled with flowers
Has no room left for weeds to share;
The mind keeps out unworthy thoughts
When loveliness is dwelling there.

Leona Bold Martin
   
   A person's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth.  If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.
   Just as gardeners cultivate their plots, keeping them free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which they require, so may a person tend the garden of his or her mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts.  By pursuing this process, a person sooner or later discovers that he or she is the master-gardener of his or her soul, the director of his or her life.        -James Allen
   
Before anything can be planted, the soil must be ready.  We must allow the softening mulch of God’s forgiveness to give air and breath to the soil of our hearts.  Prejudices—taught in our childhood or imposed by our society—must be released.  Fear must be replaced by trust, and suspicion by childlike hope and acceptance.  These changes in the soil will not come easily or without sweat, but any good gardener knows that preparing the soil is the most important of all labors.  It gives the seeds a chance to grow and eventually, to exhibit all that is hidden in its complex genetic structure.       -Peggy Benson
   

If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow.       -Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross

  
   
People can learn to study their life force in the same way that a master gardener studies a rosebush.  No gardener ever made a rose.   When its needs are met a rosebush will make roses.  Gardeners collaborate and provide conditions which favor this outcome.   And as anyone who has ever pruned a rosebush knows, life flows through every rosebush in a slightly different way.        -Rachel Naomi Remen
   
One person can completely change the character of a country, and the industry of its people, by dropping a single seed in fertile soil.        -John C. Gifford
   

Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.       -Abraham Lincoln

   

Show me your garden, provided it be your own, and I will tell you what you are like.  It is in middle life that the finishing touches should be put to it; and then, after that, it should remain more or less in the same condition.        -Alfred Austin

   

Yes, in the poor man's garden grow
Far more than herbs or flowers--
Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind,
And joy for weary hours.

Mary Howitt

       

A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water'd it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.

William Blake

   

We are all here to serve in our own unique ways and to give back to the earth and to life what we have been given.  We are here to contribute the one thing that makes us immortal:  love.  We cannot hold on to the tree of life forever and we cannot live forever through our actions.  But if we act out of love, the sacrifices we perform will sustain those who come after us, and our garden will have many beautiful trees.  When we each make the choice to serve, no one will suffer because of someone else's desires.  No tree will go without nourishment or be cut down to fulfill someone else's wants.  Our garden will flourish because each seed will have rich soil and each leaf will be free to display its beautiful colors for all to see.  It will be an awesome garden that will make the front page of every newspaper.       -Bernie Siegel

   

   
To know someone here or there with whom you feel there is understanding in spite of differences or thoughts expressed--that can make of this earth a garden.       -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

And a different translation:

The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers, and cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.       -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

     

We are all flowers in the Great Spirit's garden.  We share a common root, and the root is Mother Earth.  The garden is beautiful because it has different colors in it, and those colors represent different traditions and cultural backgrounds.        -Grandfather David Monongye (Hopi)

    

We would be well on the way
to perfection if we could weed out
one vice from ourselves each year.

Thomas a Kempis

Happiness grows at our
own firesides, and is not to be
picked in strangers' gardens.

Douglas Jerrold

   

Calvin Campbell

Ye who are kicking against Fate,
Tell me how it is that on this hill-side,
Running down to the river,
Which fronts the sun and the south-wind,
This plant draws from the air and soil
Poison and becomes poison ivy?
And this plant draws from the same air and soil
Sweet elixirs and colors and becomes arbutus?
And both flourish?
You may blame Spoon River for what it is,
But whom do you blame for the will in you
That feeds itself and makes you dock-weed,
Jimpson, dandelion or mullen
And which can never use any soil or air
So as to make you jessamine or wistaria?

Edgar Lee Masters
from Spoon River Anthology

   

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy--they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.       -Marcel Proust

   

   
Thoughts, like seeds, sprout and blossom according to their variety, and the thoughts you cultivate create your experiences of life.  Just as a seed planted in fertile soil produces healthy fruit, your mind may be lightened or darkened depending on the type of thoughts planted in it.  If apple seeds are planted and nurtured, you can harvest delicious, juicy apples.  If you plant and nurture thistle seeds, you get prickly thistles.  This analogy also holds true for the mind.  Positive thoughts can produce positive results, whereas negative thoughts can lead to negative results.  Understanding this cause and effect relationship can help you "think into being" the kind of life you wish to have.     -John Marks Templeton, Worldwide Laws of Life
  
We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives, so best to remove the weeds of avarice, envy, and doubt, that peace and abundance may manifest for all.     -Dorothy Day
  
Imagine your mind as a garden and thoughts as the seeds you plant.  Habitual negative, unhealthy, self-critical thoughts produce the weeds and thistles of depression, discontent, and anxiety in the garden of your mind.  Luckily, the opposite is also true.  Consistently planting positive, healthy, constructive thoughts will yield a crop of beautiful feelings, such as gratitude, love, and joy.     -Sue Patton Thoele
  
Grass and trees cannot grow without soil.  The "soil" that fosters our growth includes our parents, teachers, seniors, or homeland, alma mater, community or company.  In any case, everyone has some place where they grew up or someone who nurtured them.  Human beings grow as a result of nurturing "soil" in which they express their ability and make the flowers of their lives blossom, just as the spirit of the rice plant returns to the soil and the stalk sprouts to flower and bear grain once again.  We should repay our debts of gratitude to this soil in which we developed. This cycle of repaying gratitude will envelop one's whole existence.  Your true humanity will never blossom if you seek only to develop yourself.    -Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhism Day by Day
  

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