A personal account of my relationship with Nature in the garden and the unexpected journey on which I was led.
two years ago I started living in a garden. Our family built a small
cabin on ancestral property, we moved in with minimal belongings, and
devoted ourselves to gardening and organic cultivation. Deep in the
rural heartland we are surrounded by agricultural fields and distant
hills. For the casual visitor, there’s little to distinguish us from any
other home with a large garden. We may have more fruit trees and
there’s a strange formation of trenches but we also have the usual
features – a lawn, a few ornamental trees, vegetable patches, flower
beds, and a pathway. I am not a gifted gardener either. In fact, I don’t
do much gardening apart from occasional sowing, weeding, and
harvesting. We often hire help.
Yet, shortly after we moved, my wife and I started observing what others
may call strange phenomenon. I had sensed early on that there was
something special about this place. Then a series of unending
synchronicities began presenting us with opportunities to improve
ourselves. We had to work on ourselves, our relationships, and, our
purposes. It was as if an invisible force was guiding our lives. Most
significantly, I felt being led on a journey of discovery of the true
nature of our reality and my role in it. I found out that as soon as I
created and clarified an intention, it would begin to materialise. Could
it be that as we were raising the plants and trees of the garden, the
garden was raising us?
We had no doubt that was the case. A garden is more than the sum of its
parts. It’s the consciousness behind it that defines it. Is it designed
as a pretty landscape around the house or is it a purpose onto itself?
The relationship we hold with our garden is a special one. It is
distinguished by our belief that each plant, the living soil, the air we
breathe, and the garden as a whole, is a living entity connected with
all-that-is. This garden spirit, if you will, not just listens but is
able to respond. This is not a vague, feel-good feeling that one would
think couldn’t possibly stand closer scrutiny or analysis. It is indeed a
feel-good feeling but one based a rational belief which I now
understand is part of a large body of metaphysical concepts. These
ideas are so removed from the mainstream human consciousness of how we
view the world and our place in it that there is no easy way to
introduce them to the unacquainted. Yet esoteric ideas are finding
greater acceptance every day.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning. Five
years ago I had no interest in metaphysics, ecological spirituality, new
age, or spirituality of any other flavour. I was as deeply entrenched
into the physical world as one could be. As a climate change activist I
advocated the need for drastic emission reductions through policy by
revealing to the public the extent of climate breakdown and implications
of our national obsession with economic growth. I was not well-known
but well-respected among my peers. In a short period I had about two
dozen public-speaking engagements including at top-ranking institutions
(IIFM, IIT Delhi, IIT Mumbai) and once on national television (NewsX)
during prime time, and some international media coverage (BBC, Reuters).
I led an online community focused on climate solutions, formed a
renewable energy company, spearheaded an ambitious advocacy campaign of
my own called Climate Revolution Initiative, received a respectable
mention of my work in a book, and made enemies with national press which
I thought were ignoring the story of climate crisis and the need for
By around 2014, not satisfied with progress on climate policy, my own
work, and personal lifestyle, I had begun to question my approach and
got myself interested in organic farming. (As an aside, we do not farm
commercially at present. Only the surplus goes to the market). I came
across individuals who had already left the city to farm. One such
evening I found myself in Coonoor, a small town nestled amidst Nilgiri
hills, in the house of someone who made the move more than a decade ago.
One of the most successful filmmakers of 1990’s, this person, who
graciously welcomed me in his home and later became a friend, left
Mumbai to live on a twenty two acre property adjoining forests.
I will never forget how I felt the next morning. Waking up, I opened the
window and it was like magic. I was surrounded by lush green landscape
enveloped in mist with terracotta roof cottages in the distance. With
his move, my friend had chosen to live among trees instead of buildings,
animals instead of cars, mountains instead of skyscrapers. The pristine
air carried water, not particulate. It spoke to me. That was it.
Suddenly, what was a fantasy until then became real. The visit was a
tremendous boost to my aspiration to live on the land.
Then one day someone introduced me to the books. The Ringing Cedars
series by Russian author Vladimir Megre contain teachings by a woman
named Anastasia, who the author had met in 1995 in Siberia during a
business trip. An extraordinary and advanced human, she lives along with
a few of her kin, in seclusion in Siberian boreal forests where her
ancestors have been living for hundreds of generations similarly
secluded from modern human settlements as well as native inhabitants of
the region. Anastasia is an uncomfortable concept for many who would
rather believe she didn’t exist. When I read the first book her
teachings on Nature and human potential appeared remarkably refreshing
and completely unlike anything I had read earlier.
As climate activist I had closely seen where technology driven world was
heading. The books showed me what our world would look like if it was
driven by the love of Nature instead. All that was needed was to focus
inward and to create for one’s family one hectare of living space – a
space of love. A garden designed with conscious awareness. Anastasia
created a remarkable vision of our future that was full of hope and
benevolence. This was complete antithesis to the ideas of doom &
gloom of climate science I was led to believe. I embraced her vision
like a terminal patient would a promising new treatment. I stopped
delivering talks and gradually severed all contact from the world of
climate science, resource depletion, and policy advocacy.
By then I had already started organic cultivation on family land in our
village. I would travel from the city once a month, water the fields,
sow the seeds or do whatever needed to be done and come back to the city
home eight hours away. Like most people who get back to the land I was
convinced my future lay in organic farming. But the books suggested that
serving the land in reverence was a much higher aspiration than serving
the land for market. Anastasia spoke of creating a family homestead on
one hectare of land and painted a vision of what that would do for the
family if they held a relation of love with it with conscious awareness.
When I started reading Ringing Cedars I couldn’t stop and finished nine
books in less than two months. Yet, the books are as demanding as they
are enjoyable. They require an active imagination and an ability to open
one’s heart to its unusual ideas and ask “what if it was true.” I never
stopped thinking about the ideas revealed and it actually took me
several years to process them. The biggest leap in learning came after
we built a small cabin on our land, created a garden, and my wife joined
me after leaving the corporate sector.
Shortly thereafter synchronicity led me to a flood of esoteric books
each of which expanded on the ideas presented in the Ringing Cedars.
Authors like Esther Hicks, Michael Roads, Dolores Cannon, Eben
Alexander, Lee Carroll presented metaphysical concepts from the other
side of the veil. On one hand I found scientific validation behind some
of their ideas in the work of developmental biologist Bruce Lipton, and
the remarkable work of journalist Lynne McTaggart who showed how
consciousness influences physical reality. On the other hand, work by
quantum physicists Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner revealed the
limitations of science when it comes to some of the most fundamental
aspects of our existence.
What struck me most was the overwhelming volume of published material
available in the public domain on esoteric topics. They may have some
variation on the details but the core concepts can be found to be common
to all. Most new age material has been published over the last 30 years
but there are some books from about a century ago that match concepts
presented in recent books. Often there are communities around one author
or subject that have no idea that another writer elsewhere has written
about the same or similar concepts in another way.
One of the core lessons of all teachers, if I could limit it to a single
sentence, is that the non-physical has primacy over the physical. If
this was true, it meant discarding everything I knew about how the world
functioned. I learned that the greatest secrets of the universe lied
outside of what we have been taught. Once we understand them all
creation will be seen as magnificent beyond description, just, and
astoundingly beautiful. As I began to reflect on these teachings and
practice them consciously in everyday life I started to experience them
One of the first synchronicities led me to discover the work of Joseph
Cornell who, in the 1970’s, developed Sharing Nature training in U.S.
It’s a Nature awareness programme conducted in natural surroundings that
employ innovative games and activities to uplift participants’
consciousness. This award-winning experiential training programme is now
popular in over forty countries worldwide. When I first came across the
training, just the act of watching other people engaged in play that
connected them with Nature filled me with tremendous joy. In Joseph
Cornell’s workshops Nature was accorded the same degree of reverence
that the Ringing Cedars books spoke about. By engaging in these
activities anyone, regardless of their background, could experience the
benefits of a joyful union with Nature. I contacted Sharing Nature, U.S,
to bring the training to India and we will soon do the first such
programme in the country. Details can be found on our website: Sharing Nature Experience.
In Sharing Nature training a popular activity is called ‘Interview with
Nature’. It’s one of my favourites from the ensemble of all the
wonderful activities created by Joseph Cornell. Perhaps because it
allows for, in the most direct manner, the contemplation of Nature. In
this activity participants are asked to choose a natural feature like a
tree or an animal, imagine that they were that life form, and interview
it. They are to write down the answers that first come to their mind.
A few days ago when my nephews were visiting, we lay down in the grass
and decided to play interview with Nature. The eight year old chose to
interview a wasp and the twelve year old went with a tree (page 2).
I chose the garden spirit as my subject. The responses of course are
influenced by my own consciousness and the ideas that have taken root in
my mind. You can read the response below that appeared in me as I
interviewed the garden spirit.
How old are you?
I was born around the fourth week of November 2014. That makes me four
years and four month old. [the activity was conducted on 22nd Mar 2019]
Where do you come from?
You could say that I was born in your mind when you read book one and
imagined living in Nature. If you wish to go further back, you could
trace my birth to Anastasia’s dream in which she imagined that Valdimir
Megre would write books whose readers would one day create their own
gardens. That was 1995. That makes me 23 year old. Today, there are
thousands of my counterparts from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Germany,
Australia, U.S, and elsewhere around the world. All of them were
inspired by Anastasia. If you wish to go further back, as a garden
spirit I am part of Gaia, mother earth, which also is a spirit. So
really, I do not have a beginning. Nor do I have an end since
consciousness is eternal.
Have you always been the same size?
My size cannot be seen with eyes but I do have one. The more my creator
thinks of me or pays me attention, more do I grow in size. The more care
he and his family provides, the better do I flourish, both in spirit
and in physical form.
What is it like living here?
The material part of me lives here. As spirit I’m not limited by space. I
am here for sure but I’m elsewhere as well. It’s difficult to define it
in human terms since you think in a linear, three-dimensional fashion.
In the spirit world there is no separation, everything is one. Your
scientists are struggling with it too in the world of quantum physics
where one object can be at multiple places at the same time. They have
been trying to figure it out for over a century. One day they will. When
they do, it will begin a new era for humanity. A day will come when
you will walk into a forest and see with your instruments all the trees
looking at you. You will even be able to measure the beneficial energy
you receive from them in such an exchange.
What events have you seen in your life?
I saw the joy and delight with which you conceived of me. I experienced
the excitement when you anticipated me over the years. I grew each time
you believed you will bring me to life in the physical world or create
me one day. Each time your conviction gave way to doubt I slightly
diminished in size. Thankfully those moments were few and far between.
Most of the time, you were confident. The only question was where and
Who comes to visit you?
My physical counterpart is visited by all who come to me. But I am also
visited by others when you share your story with them. When you tell
them about the garden, what you grow and what motivated you to make it
part of your life.
How do you benefit others?
How a garden spirit assists its creator and assists humanity as a whole
is a puzzle to which you have given considerable thought. It is
something you must strive to continue working. Not with the intellect
but with your feeling, by listening to the heart. It’s not something for
me to tell you at this time as you still have a lot to learn and
experience. You already know that I am and will continue to bring you
the opportunities, but you must get the answers on your own.
How do others help you?
Who is to say who helps more – the others me or I them? It’s an
exchange. Others help me by joining their thoughts with me. When they
think of me, in joy, I grow too as consciousness. I benefit immensely
whenever one thinks of me in an uplifted mood. At such times, they
elevate themselves, you, and many unseen others. When people visit the
garden, contemplate a flower or a fruit tree, and when you share your
story and they react with delight they unknowingly also sow seeds of
their own future garden. Whether the garden gets materialized in
physical form or not depends upon whether they identify it as their
aspiration and how well they cultivate it. They may or may not water
this seed. Regardless, just the act of sharing the story in uplifted
consciousness brings good to all.
A silver lining in the recent protests at Aarey colony is that they demonstrate that care and protection of Nature is deeply ingrained into the hearts of millennials who made up bulk of the protestors. While it is heartening, it is also unsurprising because an affinity for Nature is a trait as typically human as […]