The Gardener’s Dilemma
Most of us have experienced the gardener’s dilemma at some point in our lives. We have planted seeds of confidence, trust, better decision-making, honesty, respect, spiritual guidance, and/or self acceptance in another person’s life, and we have remained at that person’s side during his or her period of self-improvement. With the goal of cultivation in our minds, we seek to water and nurture that seed until it reaches maturity and blooms into a beautiful plant.
One thing that we rarely take into account, unfortunately, is the soil in which we place our seed. If you ask any experienced gardener, he or she will tell you that the condition of the soil is critical to the development of the plant. Because the soil is responsible for supplying the plant with the nutrients needed for growth, a rich and fertile ground will most often yield a strong and healthy plant, even in the absence of great sunlight or consistent rain. If seeds are placed in infertile soil, the plant will not bloom into its full potential. If the plant does grow, death is often imminent.
In humans, the mind is a kind of soil. It is where we are able to grasp concepts, meditate on ideas, learn new things and seek help. Our mind is the vehicle by which we leave old habits and abandon self-destructing behaviors. If it is not adequately prepared for change, however, it will inhibit the desired development.
The gardener’s dilemma, then, is knowing where to plant the precious seeds of wisdom. Planting a seed is much like making an investment. Since no one likes an empty return, it is important to realize that some soils are simply not prepared for the challenge of cultivating a seed. In other words, not everyone is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared to receive your advice!!! A good gardener would not spend extra time, energy, and other valued resources trying to grow a seed in a ground that is bankrupt of nutrients and beyond repair. So why should we continue to sow, water and nourish unwelcomed wisdom into a mind that lacks both the desire to change and the eagerness to heed?
While it is important to help others, it is also important to remember that a person must want change to achieve it. You can be the perfect gardener: you can be loyal to your loved one, passionate about his/her transformation and a dependable resource. If that person is unwilling to heed your advice, however, none of those qualities matter. The ability to truly change one’s circumstances lies within the mind. Remember, the mind, like fertile soil, contains all the necessary nutrients for one’s growth.
Instead of despairing when our loved ones do not follow our advice and refuse to cease self-destructing behaviors, we should accept the following truth: a person will only change when he or she is ready. Once he becomes fed up with the existing situation, he will actively seek an alternative. Then and only then will he remember your words of wisdom and begin to nurture your advice. We must only remain hopeful, patient and supportive of our loved ones’ progress. The rest is up to them.