Many of us look for it our whole lives. Some never find it, others seem to have it from a very young age. More than anything however, as we approach “middle age” (loosely defined as between 45-65) the quest for Zen seems to take on a particular importance. Perhaps we need respite from our role of caregiver to both parents and kids, maybe we’ve lost a spouse and are looking for some type of comfort, or maybe we are still so busy with work that we’ve lost touch with friends and how to lead a peaceful life, so now we need a reminder. Amintro can help. We’ll help you connect with your inner Zen through our ongoing March gardening blogs and help you connect to Zen gardens – from desktop to table top to serene and grounded outdoor spaces. We can also help you connect with new friends. Amintro is a free app, for adults 50+ who are looking to make new friends who share common interests and hobbies. Find a friend and find your Zen – the Amintro way!
Tabletop Zen Gardens
You may have seen these around more and more lately as they gain in popularity and if you haven’t, you can always log in to your desktop, find your favorite online retailer, and order one. There are any number of shapes and sizes available and most of them come with the tools and accessories you need to create your own desktop or tabletop oasis. Colored sand, tiny Buddha’s, some with Bonsai trees and special polished rocks, there really is something for everyone from beginner to more advanced.
A number of beautiful coffee table books are available through your local bookseller or again, through online retailers. These books offer visual Zen simply by perusing the pages as they share some of the most stunning Zen gardens from around the world. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to create your own Zen garden if space allows.
Achieving that next level of Zen, for some, might come from planning for, building and managing your own patch of Zen right in your own backyard. Typically, a Zen garden is dry, or “karesansui” (dry landscape) comprised of rocks and sand. The rocks are usually placed to symbolize mountains for example or to represent islands in the “water” (the sand, raked to resemble a flowing river bed.) When contemplating creating your own Zen garden you are going to want to consider its size and factor in the cost (and time) associated with building the frame – an important part of containing the sand or fine pebbles you’ll be filling it with. You may also want to consider gardening cloth laid at the base to prevent the growth of weeds. Determine ahead of time if you want any greenery or will simply rely on rocks, gravel and sand with perhaps some statuary carefully placed. The raking of a Zen garden very much becomes a meditative process, meant to bring peace and calm as you create patterns in the sand.
Finding your Zen with a New Friend
Lastly, we’ll leave you this thought about Zen gardens. Did you know that for some Buddhists in particular, the practice of a Zen garden (and other contemplative acts, like creating mandalas) is not only to calm the mind and create beauty, but to purposefully destroy it once it is complete and to start all over again? This is meant to be an act of humility, that nothing we create is so beautiful or permanent that it cannot also be destroyed. Talk about an exercise in patience! If this doesn’t sound peaceful to you – focus instead on finding your Zen with a friend you found the Amintro way. We help folks who are 50+ to find and make new friends with a free, easy to use App. Find out who shares common interests with you and maybe lives right around the corner. Register with us and in the meantime “stay calm and carry on!”
By Sheralyn Roman