Tending the Garden

By Gena Gilcrease

At the heart of New Thought is the principle that our minds are connected to a Divine Power that gives creative authority to our thoughts. We say “change your thinking, change your life” because our experience mirrors the types of thoughts most frequently entertained. Consequently, a shift in thinking can create a different experience. The problem is that we might change our mind for a while, but the real secret is keeping it changed!  A reality was not formed with one thought, but many more, billions and billions of thoughts. Spiritual treatment and affirmations do work to change experience; at the same time, we need to continue spiritual practice to keep affirmative and connected with the creative Source.

 A garden illustrates the creative process at work. A gardener knows that a seed can produce a plant but doesn’t expect a result by commanding a carrot seed: I affirm you are a carrot!  We can’t make the seed grow; we can only provide the means by which it can grow. There is a procedure to follow.

1.    Choose a seed.

2.    Plant it in good soil.

3.    Nourish it on a regular basis.  

4.    Provide for sun or warmth.  

5.    Weed out the unwanted plants.

6.    Harvest and enjoy!

A garden is also a useful allegory for the creative process in our lives. We can use the same method in our mental gardens to grow a greater consciousness of Divine Power to uplift into a more fulfilling experience.

1.    Choose the seed.

What do you require in your life?  What do you want to be, do, and have? How will you use this profound power of mind to direct your life? What would it look like, feel like? Choose the seed of your desired reality. Prepare the soil with willingness, faith, and expectancy.

2.    Plant the seed

We plant the seed of a desired experience in the receptive soil of our minds by a clear intention and conviction. Often a gardener will put the seed packet at the end of the row, with a picture of the completed plant. In the same way, we can form a clear picture of the intention already in place. In the process, we are growing in greater consciousness of Oneness with Spirit.

3.     Water the seed

The seeds of intentions are nourished with the water of affirmative thoughts. Plants have been shown to be affected by positive words and feelings. In the same way, our mental seeds respond to expressions of love and encouragement. Forming affirmative statements is powerful, especially when said as true now, not in the future.  Jack Canfield has an idea to make a jingle of your affirmations: I’m vitally alive at 165! 

I feel so happy and free as riches come to me. Words of gratitude and appreciation continue to enrich the soil and the seeds.

Prayer uplifts our thoughts to a higher good, not to convince God of anything, but to strengthen our faith and belief. Spending time in meditation quietens the mind to deepen the connection with creative source. Reading spiritual literature, making a vision board, or listening to inspiring CDs all nourish the mental seeds. Find some way to daily keep your intentions foremost in your mind. The work is not to produce a thing but to grow in consciousness of Divine Creation.

4.    Warmth

The seeds need warmth in order to grow. In our inner garden, we provide warmth by fueling intentions with the fire of inner passion. Feeling is the key to creating a new reality, feeling as if this experience is true now. We nurture the seeds with light and love in our hearts as catalysts of creation. We often express strongly about something we don’t like in our experience; our feelings of what we do want must be even stronger and continual.

Visualize successfully achieving the desired result now, having or doing the thing you want. Most importantly, add the feeling of fulfilling this goal – enjoyment, confidence, ease, power, elation, or self-respect – whatever you would feel in manifesting this goal.  Expand the feeling of joy and happiness in your life now, which invites more joy.

In tending our inner garden, we are making the Divine our creative partner and can attune our intuition to Divine Wisdom. Ask: “What do I need to know or do? What’s my next step?” The message may come as words or as a picture or symbol.

We can’t make our gardens grow; we can’t make our goals manifest. We deeply connect with Divine Power that does the work.

5.    Weeding

Weeding is a fact of gardening to remove unwanted plants that crowd out and remove good nutrients. Do we weed our garden only one time? Hardly. We have to continue to remove those doubts or negative thoughts that can choke out the planted intentions in our mental gardens.

Does a gardener pull out a weed and say “How disgusting and horrible you are!”?  No, he or she just removes it. In the garden of our mind, the mental weed of negative thought doesn’t need to be labeled too harshly. Being negative about being negative is counterproductive! Just accept it and have compassion for that part of yourself. When negating thoughts come to mind, simply notice them, but give them no power. Perhaps create a mental compost heap to put them in, affirming that they are being transformed to nutrients that help grow the planted intentions. Then you might counter the negative thought or feeling with an affirmative and uplifting thought.

As the enjoyment of watching a movie requires the suspension of disbelief, so creating a new movie for your life requires suspending any thoughts or beliefs that prevent the new movie from being created.

6.     Harvest and enjoy!

Know that the creation is realized. Notice any aspect of the desired reality taking shape, no matter how small. Gratitude and appreciation continue the process of creation to blossom into new directions, events, and opportunities.

Now you might be thinking, Do I have to spend hours on this? In learning a musical instrument or a new language, how much time would you spend every day?  One hour … or 30 minutes? Is it worth 5-10 minutes a day to create a new reality? Growing a different experience doesn’t take hours a day, just a consistent and concentrated focus on the planted intentions.

And we say, “treat and move your feet.” You might think: what’s one thing I can do today toward my intentions? Daily spend some time in your mental garden growing your planted intentions into reality.

May you all grow beautiful gardens of your heart’s desires in joyful oneness with Divine Presence.

From As a Man Thinketh:

Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong and useless thoughts and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right and useful thoughts.  By pursuing this process, sooner or later a man discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.


Rev. Gena Gilcrease is a licensed minister with Centers for Spiritual Living (formerly Religious Science). She conducts workshops, classes, and continues to work on several writing projects. For more information, email revgena@gmail.com