The Ground of Being is one of the “fingers pointing to the moon” that spiritual traditions use to point in language to the Unconditional, All That Is, the Intelligence That Animates, Conscious Compassionate Awareness. One of the things I love about working in the garden at the Monastery is getting to participate in the deep care we take of the physical, material Ground of Being: the soil.
When we take out weeds from the garden beds, we use a sharp knife to cut the weeds off just below the base, so that we can take them out without disturbing the soil. And leaving their roots behind creates nourishment for the soil.
We cover the beds with mulch so that when the beds are watered — by the rain or from a hose — the mulch stops the water from running off and taking the soil with it. Last week we planted some tiny kales, grown from seed in containers, into one of the beds. The big straw mulch we use around bigger plants would bury them, so we tucked in small leaf mulch right up close to them instead.
Hügelkultur (“hill culture”) beds — raised beds built from the bottom up with logs — create a sponge effect, retaining moisture for the soil.
We compost all of our food scraps from the kitchen, and use it in the garden beds to provide deep nourishment for the soil.
Working in the garden and getting to care for the soil in these ways is an experience of getting to care for that which cares for us, and getting to be so cared for by the getting to care for…
We also recently learned about a project in Ireland where a woman has restored three acres of land with depleted soil into a flourishing, biodiverse habitat. We share it here in case you find it inspiring, too.