Having a sacred practice every morning and every evening grows our soul lives into a beautiful garden. The Spanish poet Antonio Machado asked: “What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?” We must be willing to ask ourselves this very important question. What have we done with the garden that was entrusted to us? Are you willing to fiercely protect this precious garden? What are you willing to sacrifice in order to more fully tend this garden?
Devotion to a daily practice is one of the most essential qualities in cultivating a soul life as a fully adult man. This means putting in garden time: tilling, watering, weeding, loving, even singing to your garden. This is truly living an artful, soulful life.
What does it mean to be a man with a daily sacred practice?
It could mean creating “bookends on the day.” That is, beginning the day in the morning hours in silence and prayer, attuning to the dreamtime. Then very slowly moving into a writing practice from that dreamstream. Ideally, this is followed by a walk in the canyons. This is Richard’s morning practice. In this morning practice, he is mining the dream world. As Jung says, it is, “dreaming the dream onward.” The silence, the prayer time, the dreamstream, the writing practice, and the walking in wilderness cultivate an ongoing intimacy with the soul life.
It could mean walking into the back yard, saying a prayer of devotion, greeting the trees and other plants, saying hello to the birds, acknowledging ancestors from all the species, attuning to all the senses, and walking barefoot on the earth, reciting a prayer of reverence. Then, once inside again, meditating for ten minutes. This is Tom’s morning practice.
The morning practice becomes a sacred refuge, a home for the soul, and an invocation for the day.
In the evening, before bedtime, we pause in silence and prayer once again, reflect on the day, giving gratitude for what has unfolded that day, asking for blessing for the night. This is the other bookend.
The space between the morning and evening practice—the work day—becomes a ritual space between morning invocation and evening gratitude.
We only get so many days here. So whatever your practice is, step up and begin to listen your soul into life, your life!
What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?
THE WIND, ONE BRILLIANT DAY
The wind, one brilliant day, called
to my soul with an odor of jasmine.
“In return for the odor of my jasmine,
I’d like all the odor of your roses.”
“I have no roses; all the flowers
in my garden are dead.”
“Well then, I’ll take the withered petals
and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain.”
The wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:
“What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?”