Bonsai's Use in Meditation: An Alternative and Holistic Technique

This being Bonsai Creek's first blog entry I want to get to the heart of our passion and intention behind opening the store. The best way for me to do that is to take a look at who and what we are as human beings. We (human beings) are connected to the natural world. It is easy to forget about that connection in our fast‐paced technology filled lives. We often find ourselves flocking to beaches, national parks, going on long hikes, planting gardens, and walking in nature to relax, rejuvenate, and sometimes meditate; all in an attempt to strengthen and often re-establish that connection with nature. Several cultures around the world are aware of how important that connection is and have continued to nurture it. The idea of Shinrin Yoku, a Japanese term for “forest bathing,” which is the therapeutic idea of walking in the forest while attempting to be fully present. A practice by-the-way that has been growing in popularity in recent times.

 

It may not be surprising that a relaxing stroll through a bonsai garden can be an effective meditative experience, even for those who are not necessarily bonsai artists. One must just have a receptive state of mind and tune in to nature's resonances, just as forest bathers do when they walk mindfully through the forest.
Meditation is about attunement; we can experience bonsai as meditation by simply taking in the tree's essence, beauty, and story. Beholding, immersing, and reflecting is one way of attuning to the essence of a bonsai tree. Getting immersed in it, one might study it from different angles, maybe smell it, touch it, feel it, and tune in to one or more elements of the tree.

The act of creating bonsai is a Zen practice, a contemplative, meditative exercise that draws one closer to nature and ultimately, one's self. Understanding it as a form of meditation and how to approach it as such, involves considering not only what meditation is, but being able to metaphorically understand how we are like the tree: the ways that we too are “pruned,” and “wired” by life, hopefully in ways that enhance our continued growth.

This is the mindset and level of appreciation we have for bonsai here at Bonsai Creek. We encourage our customers to share in it; with their purchases and as they care for their bonsai allow their bonsai to become a part of their lives.

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