Mindfulness: Who is Tending Your Mind Garden?

By Dennis Merritt Jones, D.D.
Author of THE ART OF BEING, 101 Ways To Practice Purpose In Your Life
"So plastic is mind, so receptive, that the slightest thought makes an impression upon it. People who think many kinds of thought must expect to receive a confused manifestation in their lives. If a gardener plants a thousand kinds of seeds, he will get a thousand kinds of plants: it is the same in mind." ~ Dr. Ernest Holmes

This morning I stepped out onto our second story balcony and noticed one of our herbal flower boxes had become host to one of the largest weeds I have ever seen ('in captivity'). We are talking major league weed...as large as a rosebush probably could have pruned it and kept it as my prize plant. So large was this weed that it had taken over the entire box, chocking out the fragile herbs recently planted by my wife. I thought to myself; how on earth could a weed like this become rooted in a second story flower box, and then grows to this proportion? The answer to how it got there is simple: Either the 'seed of the weed' somehow became commingled with the herbal seeds, a bird dropped it, or perhaps the wind simply blew it into the flower box. Regardless of how it got there, it's no longer there--I lovingly transplanted it in the recycle bin, where in short order it's off-springs shall find residence in a landfill somewhere. How it grew as large as a Volkswagen before it was discovered and removed is simple too; no one has tended to the flower box for several weeks. Potting soil is incredibly receptive to ANY seeds introduced to it. It has absolutely no discretion when it comes to playing hosts to seeds it says 'yes' to all of them. Point: Within an unattended flower box in March can lurk unseen havoc for your daffodils.

So it is too with your mind: An unattended mind can create havoc for you because your mind is amazingly receptive to whatever suggestions may be dropped into it. It has been said that the subconscious mind cannot take a joke. This simply means that whatever belief is introduced to it, it takes seriously as an instruction to grow that thought-seed into a full-blown plant--be it a rose or a weed, and it doesn't care. Just like that receptive potting soil in my flower box, it says, 'yes' to all seeds planted, positive or otherwise. When you stop and consider how many thought-seeds are blown, dropped or purposefully planted in your mind on a daily basis, it may cause you to tend to your mental garden with a bit more regularity. In addition to all the seeds that were planted in your mind before you knew you even had one; as you listen to the radio, watch TV or even sit in a restaurant where others are talking, your mind hears it ALL, irrespective of whether you are conscious of it or not. Given what's going on in our world today with all of the talk that comes from fear and anger, this is a vital point to grasp. Even when you engage in gossip or negative conversation with or about others, your subconscious mind hears it all, and here is the hook; it takes it personally. The only way to avoid this type of mind pollution is to be consciously focused on what YOU want to have planted and growing in your flower box called life. We are talking 24/7 here.

The action you and I need to take is clear isn't it? It has been proven that the human mind thinks thousands of thoughts a day. Instead of planting a mixed bag of thousands of various seeds, from fearful to simply confused and unfocused thought-seeds, which will require a full time gardener to pull up the weeds, why not specialize in planting one or two types of seed? Plant thought-seeds about yourself and others that are rooted in reverence and loving-kindness. Plant seeds that focus on God's Presence at the center and circumference of all you say, think and do, at work, home, or play. Be mindful...be skillful in the seeds you plant and how you nurture them. Your life is your garden; keep the weeds out because that is one way in which you can personally beautify our world. You owe that much to yourself and to those who receive the benefit of the seeds you drop along the way.

An unattended mind can create havoc for you because your mind is amazingly receptive to whatever suggestions may be dropped into it.


Keep a journal for the next 24 hours. Make note of ALL the different thought-seeds that become obvious to you throughout the day. By this I mean repetitive or habitual thoughts, either positive of negative. Don't judge what you find, simply write it down. At the end of the day, sit quietly and review your findings. If you discover thought-seeds that are growing beautiful experiences for you, see yourself planting even more of those seeds. If you notice any pattern of thinking from which 'weeds' will grow or are currently growing, simply visualize yourself plucking the thought-weed from your mind and immediately plant a thought-seed that supports the idea of wholeness. Follow it with an affirmation such as: "Divine Mind knows how to grow a beautiful life by means of me and I am grateful it is so." You may have to do this any number of times, but it is your garden...and you are the only gardener who can tend to it.

Peace, Dennis Merritt Jones, D.D.

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© 2003 by Dennis Merritt Jones

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