Your Sacred Garden
Do you have a place of refuge?
Published: July 20, 2012
Learn to find the spiritual haven within.
Between the Lower Worlds where the spirits of Nature dwell and the Upper spiritual realms are found the Middle Worlds. The Middle Worlds are dual in nature. On the one hand, there’s the visible, objective plane of everyday physical reality. On the other, we find its nonvisible, nonordinary aspect, where we go during our dreaming while asleep. It is within the dreamlike levels of the Middle World that each of us may find our Sacred Garden—our personal place of power and healing.
This place can become a retreat from the stresses and strains of everyday life where we go to restore ourselves. It can also serve as our cosmic gateway into the other spiritual levels of reality, awareness, and experience.
All of us have fond memories of places that we’ve visited in life, places with which we feel a strong connection. Often these are localities in nature where we’ve felt complete somehow or at peace in ways that are hard to define, yet easy to feel. In our meditations or in our daydreaming, we often spontaneously reconnect with these places by simply remembering them, and by bringing up the feeling that we felt when we were there.
Those who have read my books know of my heartfelt connection with Hawai’i, and of how I learned to visit the Big Island by bringing up the memory of a beach at Kealakekua Bay where I used to swim every day with my wife and children. Over the years that I lived in the islands, I came to know every tree, plant, and stone of this locality, and when I returned to California, it was as though this place was inside me somehow. Through my shamanic journeywork, I discovered that I could go there in my dreaming-while-awake. My feeling for this place was my connection with it.
Accordingly, the dreaming of the beach at Kealakekua Bay came to serve as my Sacred Garden in my inner world, and through my visioning, I found, much to my amazement, that I could talk to the animals and the rocks in this place, as well as to the trees and the plants, the ocean and the wind. And they would respond, most often with nonverbal communication. But somehow, I could always understand what was “said” to me in ways that were elusive and mysterious, yet quite clear.
I discovered that I could do “gardenwork” in my garden, changing or altering the place according to how I wanted it to be. If I wished to have a bed of roses, a grove of mango trees, or a standing stone there, I just imagined them into existence, and they’d appear. If I wanted a waterfall to sit beside and rainbows to delight the eye, I dreamed them into existence. I even built a house in my garden and invited a caretaker to live in it when I wasn’t there. Conversely, if I found something in my garden that I didn’t want there, thorny vines growing all over everything, for example, or a swamp near my house, I could remove the vines or drain the swamp, even inviting in dream gardeners to help me do so.
And this is where I discovered something really interesting. When I changed my garden, something in my outer life would shift in response. It was almost as though everything in my garden was symbolic of some aspect of myself or my life experiences, and when I changed the symbols within my inner reality, something in my outer world changed, too. I have since come to accept that the ability to do this is magic—real magic.
As you search for your garden, you might choose a locality in the everyday world that you already know and love—a pond in the woods where you caught turtles as a child, or a beautiful lagoon where you swam during a visit to a tropical island. You might be attracted to a forest of towering redwood trees along a foggy, wild coast, or to a magnificent valley surrounded by soaring mountains. You might be drawn toward the dry, mysterious baobab savannas of Africa; toward the endless steppes of Asia, dotted with horses and gazelles; or even to Central Park in New York City. Then again, it might just be the garden that’s in your own backyard.
Your sacred garden can also be a purely imaginal place that you create for yourself, one that you can simply dream into existence using your intentions in tandem with your creative imagination. Many of us did this spontaneously as children, creating an inner world that sustained and nurtured us much like Peter Pan’s adventurous Neverland, Alice’s Wonderland, or Dorothy’s Oz.
My inner garden has become a place of great power and beauty in which I now do much of my spiritual work. I often invite my spirit helpers, as well as my spirit teacher, to meet me there. I’ve also discovered that this is a marvelous place to invite the spirits of my ancestors to visit, especially the ones who have passed over recently and who are still in transition.
Hank Wesselman was an expert guide who fully realizes that he is playing with scientific and spiritual dynamite, as described by Larry Dossey, M.D.