Gardening and a Man

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by BryanMaloney, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Gardening and a Man, 2012, Bryan J. Maloney

    To get ready to garden, one must first know your plot very well. The more you examine it before you even start, the more disheartening and hideous it will look.

    To get ready for virtue, one must first know your life very well. The more you examine it before you even start, the more disheartening and hideous it will look.

    Before you even plant the first seed, you must uproot and overturn every plant that was in the plot, even if, previously, it was something you considered acceptable or even enjoyed. What might be acceptable for a lawn is death to a garden.

    Before you even entertain the first virtue, you must uproot and overturn every vice that was in your heart, even if, previously, it was something you considered acceptable or even enjoyed. What might be acceptable for a worldly man is death to virtue.

    Before you plant the first seed, you must assess the state of the soil. If it is like many places, it will require amending or nothing good will grow.

    Before you plant the first virtue, you must assess the state of the soul. If it is like many men's, it will require amending or nothing good will grow.

    Here is where you will need to consult experts: Professors, garden store owners, and other gardeners. Do not be ashamed to let them know your soil's problems and weaknesses.

    Here is where you will need to consult experts: Theologians, ministers, and your fellow men. Do not be ashamed to let them know your soul's problems and weaknesses.

    Amend your soil--give it the nutrients it has never had or have been taken from it by the interloping plants you uprooted.

    Amend your soul--give it the wisdom it has never had or has been taken from it by the vices you uprooted.

    Now you can plant the seeds--but choose them well. Select species and varieties that suit your climate and your basic type of soil. If you do not, you will very likely fail, become disheartened, and let the garden go back to lawn. You can add more challenging plants as your skill increases.

    Now you can plant the virtues--but choose them well. Select virtues that suit your character and society. If you do not, you will very likely fail, become disheartened, and let yourself drift back into vice. You can add more challenging virtue as your fortitude increases.

    Your garden plot is clean, amended, and planted. Your work is ready to begin. You must now check your garden daily, if possible. You must water--not too much nor too little. You must feed--again only in the right amount. And you must weed, weed, and weed, for the plants that used to live in the garden plot will do their best to take it over.

    Your soul is cleaned, amended, and the virtues planted therein. Your work is ready to begin. You must check yourself daily, if possible. You must take the daily nourishment of the company of good men--not too much nor too little. You must read the wisdom of virtuous teachers--again only in the right amount. And you must weed, weed, and weed, for the vices that used to live in your soul will do their best to take it over.

    Resist the easy solutions, they almost never quite work out as you thought they would. Spray herbicides are fine for farmers, who must see to hundreds of acres of crops and don't worry much if a few dozen or so desirable plants fall along the way. For a garden, pulling weeds by hand is often a better recourse. On the other hand, some pests do require more up-to-date methods. Again, consult the experts.

    Resist the easy solutions, they almost never quite work out as you thought they would. Mass training methods are fine for corporations or governments, which must see to thousands or millions of employees, officials, and soldiers, and don't worry much if a few dozen or so fall along the way. For a man's own soul, working out each difficulty directly instead of trying to steamroller it with a "method" is often a better recourse. On the other hand, some roadblocks do require more up-to-date methods. Again, consult sources of wisdom.

    Finally, you will find that your best work in the garden will be done on your knees, with your face down.

    Finally, you will find that your best work on the soul will be done on you knees, with your face down.
     

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