Farming as Spiritual Practice – Pulling a Shambhala Card
I am one of those meditators who use the cards she has received as gifts to assist in focusing her mind, meditations and actions. During the months prior to my impending move to Canada from Boulder, my mediation instructor met me each week in the Marpa House for meditation and instruction. It was after one of these that she introduced me to the Shambhala cards. It was interesting that during that time I picked four cards multiple times the primary one was “Overcome Fear”. I was in fact working to cultivate courage, the courage required to become an expatriate and move to another country, town and community and build a new world for myself. A friend who sometimes joined us on these meditation days gave me the Shambhala cards as a parting gift and they have been in my meditation space ever since.
My practice is to pull a card, the single card that pushes itself up out of the deck in some way to call the attention of my fingers. I do not use this as a daily practice, but usually when I am moving into a new period of meditation practice, season, or find in a meditation that some further guidance would be useful. After reading and contemplating the message, I leave that card out to review as necessary and to re-read prior to pulling another card.
Today, I reviewed the last card # 11 “Synchronize mind and body”. It proffered a deeper meaning and I experienced a deeper understanding of this message today than when I pulled it some weeks ago.
“When you are completely mindful in the present moment, mind and body are synchronized.” This is precisely why I believe that weeding my gardens and beds on the farm is a spiritual practice, because it is one of the few activities in which I do feel completely present. “Here, synchronizing mind and body is connected with developing fearlessness …. Being direct in relating to the phenomenal world. … You have a perfect right to be in this universe. You have looked and you have seen, and you don’t have to apologize for being born on this earth. You can uplift yourself and appreciate your existence as a human being. This discovery is the first glimpse of what is called the Great Easter Sun, which is the sun of human dignity, the sun of human power.”
It is difficult to explain but since I have realized my dream of living on a farm and stewarding the land, its orchards, gardens and fields, I feel as if I have become literally grounded. I have been cultivating the advice of a mentor organic farmer who says “Observe. This will teach you much about what the farm needs and wants”. It is here on the farm that I continue the cultivation of courage stepping into new areas of learning from driving and maneuvering a tractor to staying warm in the deep Canadian winter.
What is more true is that The Great Eastern Sun rises each day over Okanagan Mountain and is reflected in the deep waters of Okanagan Lake to the east and each day I get to experience the sun of human power, which is what has fueled me these past 8 years now both as a new farmer and a spiritual practitioner. Living on and stewarding Ravens View Farm has indeed synchronized my mind and body. But it has also deepened my awareness of and connection to the sacredness of the earth and its divinity.
The next card? # 21 “Daring to let go the warrior is great in friendliness.” This makes me wonder, “Are the cards an instruction or an affirmation?”
October 10, 2015