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Action is Fertilizer for Your Thoughts

In the gardens of our minds, seeds are planted by means of the intentional gardener or the blowing winds of society. Do you choose your seeds or are seeds thrown into your mind without your awareness?

Where are your thoughts coming from?

Just like plant seeds that eventually grow and unfold into a blooming plant, so are your thoughts. Thoughts begin as a seed and bloom into the unfolding of your life.


For thousands of years, the wisest sages and teachers have explained that our thoughts are like seeds. The mind is a garden and we plant seeds in them in the form of thoughts. We plant thought seeds.

Eventually, thought seeds show up in our lives and everything we experience is a result of these seeds. The house you live in, your job, your relationships, everything you say and do, all a result of thought seeds planted in your mind some time ago.

The wisest sages and teachers have also explained that we can choose these thoughts or have them handed to us. When they are handed to us we are asleep. When we are choosing the seeds to plant we are awake. They ask us to consider choosing more often.

When we are asleep, we are the haphazard land owner. The land was inherited. We didn't ask for it. We let anything in and tend to nothing on the land. Any thought seed blows in and establish itself in the ground. This includes straight up garbage.

When we are awake, we are the intentional gardener. We also inherited the land, but we see its value, so we work for this land. We know the land, tend to it, offers space for specific thought seeds. This includes an area of thought seeds that aren't overly controlled, such as a wildflower or perennial plot, still tended to and maintained but given some freedom to grow into itself.

How can we explain thought seeds in relation to our actions. How do our actions affect these seeds?

Action feeds thoughts by means of nutrition. Like fertilizer, sunlight, warmth and water all at once, action grows thought seeds. Action can also clear weeds by acting contrary to what we do not want to grow. When we act contrary to thought seeds we do not want, we make space for the thought seeds we do want. For example, to kill off our old angry outbursts, we don't just refrain from being angry, we refrain by being kind. We act contrary to what behavior and thoughts we want to kill off. In that way, we are clearing weeds and making room for new plants all at once. Action can be harmful when we act on thought seeds that create harm. Action be helpful when we act on thought seeds that respect life.

Inaction can also be harmful or helpful. Like action, inaction clears weeds but it doesn't replace the weeds like action does. For example, to control anger we refrain from angry outbursts, but that suppresses the plant more than anything. Like spraying a very weak soap water on the anger plant, we are not pulling the weed from it's roots, and the anger keeps creeping up in different places. Just like weeds. Anger gets pushed around and moved, suppressed, displaced. In suppressing thought seeds and doing nothing to pull them out completely and replace them, it takes longer to grow a beautiful garden. The garden stands with roots beneath a seemingly plain surface. We think there is space to plant new seeds but we never get around to it because we are so busy trying to suppress old seeds with inaction. Inaction can be harmful when we do not act on thoughts seeds that can be helpful. Inaction can be helpful when we do not act on thoughts seeds that can be harmful.

In the end, acting on thoughts seeds that respect life is what grows the beautiful garden. For some it's a longer process because they lean toward inaction, for other it's a shorter process because they lean toward action.

And still, the kind of action matters.

Action that respects life is what grows the beautiful garden.


Action nourishes the seed, the sprout, and the thought that can eventually come into full bloom - full blooming thought is alive and well inside of us.

In full bloom, you become the thought and the idea from which it came.

So, if I want to think of myself as a peaceful person, and I act peacefully so that this thought can live inside me, I nourish this idea with my action. The thought grows inside me as I see myself acting peacefully in the world. Eventually, I am peace, I am a vessel of peace. I am an idea in action.

Inaction, on the other hand, does not nourish. Instead, not acting on my thoughts makes them go into hibernation, dormancy, if they are still early thoughts of mine in the form of seed. If I began acting on these thoughts and they've flourished into a sprout or even a small plant, but I gradually or suddenly stop acting according to the thought, the thought plants will wither away or go astray. If I act inconsistently, sometimes peaceful, sometimes not, according to the above example, I am suppressing the thought plant's growth.

Inaction, in this way, is like soap and water sprayed on plants, slowly suppressing the plants from expressing themselves in the ground, in the original place they sprouted. Soap water is often used to kill off weeds in the same way. But the the plants often persist and grow elsewhere. If the thought is meant to be a part of your life, it will come back again and again.

Inaction does not nourish. It suppresses. That doesn't mean the thought seed disappears forever.

An inexperienced gardener says, "I want to have a beautiful rose bush in my garden." The gardener plants the little bush purchased from the store. The gardener plants the bush in a place that has too much shade, hidden from the sunlight and then never waters it. The elements will not care for the rosebush, not this kind of rosebush. The gardener liked the idea of the rose bush, desired it, bought it, but did not act to maintain the idea. The rose bush dies.


When you choose a thought, you are choosing intentionally. You are conscious about your choice and you know you want that idea to be a part of your life, such as being a peaceful person. You realize something valuable about being a peaceful person. That realization is conscious and intentional. Intentional thought seeds are like fragile roses which require more care and attention. These are thought seeds that seem to go against the normal everything around us, the wild growth, the plants that are hardy and can fend for themselves.

Intentional thought seeds require a diligent gardener who is willing to wake up everyday and care for the garden as needed.

Unintentional thought seeds are more hardy. They are unexamined and not chosen. They are handed over to us or just blown into the garden. Our unexamined thought seeds are like hardy wild rose bushes. Those often roses grow in fences all on their own. Like weeds that often get plucked, they are also scared of getting annihilated. Weeds are plants that the gardener did not intend to grow. They risk getting plucked once the diligent gardener spots them. Gardeners do not choose weeds. Gardeners choose to remove them.

In the hardy wild rose bush, the roses are few, small, and have little petals compared to the ones the gardener chooses. I have some of these bushes growing in my own fence next to my bedroom window. We don't know where these plants come from, nor these thought seeds that just appear inside of us. They blow in the wind and into our minds from our parents, society, social norms, social beliefs, without us ever knowing.

When we are operating without much awareness, they sneak into the mind garden and grow themselves in covert or hard to reach places. They grow between the fences in our minds so it's hard to pluck them out. Who put those fences there to protect the thoughts we didn't choose? Many of our unconscious actions, our unconscious habits, feed the weeds. We act in a way that accidentally feeds thoughts that were handed to us, not realizing that sometimes those thoughts hurt and compromise the health of the gardens in the mind.

We want no fences. We want no weeds. We want intentional thought seeds. We want an open garden, intentional planting, freedom to choose what grows in the gardens of our own minds. This way we can tend to the thoughts we want to become. As we focus on the intentional thoughts, the thoughts we inherited that do not align with the intentional thoughts, simply die off as we stop feeding them. For example, I stop feeding my anger and impatience with verbal outbursts and I start feeding my peaceful thoughts when I express my gratitude to people around me. The weeds die off, the plants I choose thrive.

When you choose how you want to think, remember that the thought survives only with action.

The experienced gardener chooses the plant. Plants it. Nourishes it everyday and prevents weeds growing around it. The gardener clears its path for growth everyday and prunes it if the gardener so desires. The gardener is always thinking about the plants in the garden, even when she is eating her dinner with soil still left in her fingernails.

If you once thought:

I want to be less angry,

what have you done to work towards that?

I want to have a better memory, I want to stop forgetting so much,

what have you done to work towards that?

I want to write a book,

what have you done to work towards that?

I want to detach myself from this unhealthy relationship,

what have you done to work towards that?

I want to start meditating,

what have you done to work towards that?

I want to start eating more healthily,

what have you done to work towards that?

I want to have loving relationships in my life,

what have you done to work towards that?

I want to have more patience,

what have you done to work towards that?

I want to start practicing yoga or practice regularly,

what have you done to work towards that?


What is the "but.... but.....but.....I" you have accidentally planted with an intentional thought seed? Who gave that doubt to you? Which wind brought in that hesitation into your mind?

The "but...I...." is like weed killer that is not safe for fragile plants, for intentional thought seeds, and yet you plant it with the thought you want to grow. This is immediately sabotaging the seedling.

Honor the reason you chose this thought seed. Why did you choose it anyway? Why did you want this for your life? At one time you cared about it, but why? What inspired you to choose this thought?

Dearest gardener, you bought the rose bush for a reason, what was it?

Dearest gardener, you bought into a thought, an idea, a dream, a vision, an intention, at one time, but what for?

You value a way of being, but why?

Why does it matter to you?

What does it mean for your life?

What does it mean for your loved ones?

What do your tears mean?

Honor this desire. It is for your growth.


There are many ways to approach shaping our own minds. The thought that a thought begins just as a plant does, as a seed that came from a full blooming plant, is powerful. Yoga is that. The system of yoga is a thought seed that has been planted in the mind of millions of people for thousands of years. Yoga is like an ancient tree, still spreading its seed ideas so that we may attain the state of yoga, full union within ourselves and within the world.

As you continue to grow your mind garden, keep seeking the right place in the open air, away from the fences. Seek spacious open ground where there is room for growth, room for expansion. Work daily with the right actions. One day you will look down at your hands and enjoy the sight of soil in your fingernails.

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