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#Seed001: Gardening: The Perfect Metaphor?
On the cultivation of gardens as the quintessence of spiritual and community development.
“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” - Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution
I recently picked up my friend Dr. Ali Hussain’s book A Nostalgic Remembrance: Sufism and the Breath of Creativity during his visit to the Rhoda Masjid and I was struck by his understanding of the practicable nature of the Sufi tradition. Dr. Ali takes a deep dive into the spiritual nature of the creative process and explores the depths of contemporary culture and its role in spiritual development. Throughout the book, Dr. Ali weaves ideas, words, and meanings across traditions and cultures. He reminds us that a metaphor is more than a figure of speech, but a process of carrying over (meta "over, across" + pherein "to carry, bear"). So I thought to myself, how could I carry over spiritual meanings into my professional practice.
As a Muslim, facilitator, and gardener, I sought to understand how these different parts of my life are interwoven. Over the years, I’ve learned to apply principles of gardening to both my spiritual and professional practices.
We were created to know the Garden of Truth and ultimately the Gardener Himself, and to reach it through the full realizations of this knowledge. - Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Garden of Truth
Through this virtual platform, I share with you notes, sketches, and beautiful practices that I picked up and will continue to pick up along my journey. The Sufi Gardener is a virtual platform for those wishing to deepen their community engagement practice while cultivating their inner and outer gardens. I will also share practical tips, personal reflections, and real-life examples that explore how we can strengthen our connections with one another and sow the seeds of spirituality and sustainability for a flourishing world.
I invite you to join me on this journey of exploration and discovery. I hope to inspire meaningful conversations, exchange ideas, and foster a greater sense of shared purpose among my readers.
Standing by one of my teachers, Mr. Masanobu Fukuoka, who said, “our ultimate goal is the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
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Every week, I will be sharing books, podcasts, films, and other resources that will support your journey as a community facilitator and builder.
I’m pretty excited to pick up a copy of Resetting our Future: Feeding Each Other. For a long time, I’ve incorporated food as a cornerstone to facilitating community conversations. I draw from the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad, may the light of God continue to nourish his soul, when he said:
O people! Spread peace, feed others, keep your families close, and keep a night vigil when others sleep, and you shall enter the Garden peacefully.
Resetting our Future makes a case to shift the way we approach food. Food is more than nutrition. Breaking bread symbolizes conviviality; peace, family, community, and prayer.
By focusing on food – something at once ordinary and sublime – we make visible the connections that sustain life and give it meaning. By focusing on the connections revealed through food, we can recognize the destructive nonsense of organizing our pursuit of food around nutrition over nourishment, of production over process, of profit over people and planet, and of systems of oppression over liberation.
I’d also like to invite my readers to listen to this podcast on Lean Logic: The Work of David Fleming with Shaun Chamberlin. I picked up a copy of Lean Logic and it has been on my bedside ever since. The late David Fleming takes from thinkers from different political, economic and spiritual traditions to explore the major questions, ideas, challenges, and possible solutions to survive our future. You can access the complete work online.
"Even if the end of time is upon you and you have a seedling in your hand, plant it!" - The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ