Zen gardens are filled with rocks, sand and trees. So how do
they relate to our personal journeys? You might be surprised at the modern
symbolism in this ancient tradition.
Balanced rocks are essential to Zen. These formations (called cairns) can represent balance in our own lives – the structure of work against play, order against creativity, and so on, to build equilibrium in our days.
Grass and sand. Gravel and water. Zen gardens unite diverse elements to create beauty in contrast, something we can do everyday by moving wisely between extremes like joy and sadness – never letting one element overshadow another.
Zen gardens should be explored with others. What good is it building things that no one but ourselves can see? Likewise in life, share your creations and your passions with those you are fortunate enough to have around you.
In Zen gardens, every grain of sand has meaning in the larger picture. Treat every effort in your life as if it were something worth doing, no matter how small it may seem.
The most complex beauty can be created using only sand and a rake. Everything that is required to live creatively, happily and purposefully already resides within us. No materials are necessary beyond what we have in the present moment.
If you are thinking of life in Zen terms, one final approach is to walk through your own “garden” of experiences now and again, taking stock in what elements are missing, and perhaps what elements there are too many of. This can be done through quiet meditation and self reflection.