Journal November 2023

The Garden of Nâm Living

A column by Hubertus Bahorie

Life is like a river that lives towards its dissolution in the sea.

Frédéric Antonious

In 2012 ´Ishmael´ was published, a novel by Frédéric Antonious also known as Yoginâm Abbahjí. Like all the other publications that appeared during the last 30 years this book too is one of a kind. Although Yoginâm always writes about the spiritual endeavor and shares with his readers the same message over and over again; the variety in approach, vocabulary and literary form expresses the inexhaustible richness of that which cannot be captured in words. Yoginâm always stresses; it is not about the words and the sentences. What matters is what reading the book does to you and the impact it has on the way you live life; that is the actual book!

The quote above stems from Ishmael and characterizes the storyline of a young man traveling south to a strange town situated at a place where a desert touches the sea. The journey will shatter the young mans life and at the same time profoundly shape it. A wonderful book with confronting as wel as inspiring thoughts invoking images that remain and nurture the journey that the reader of the book is making him or herself. One of these images is known as ´Ishmael’s Kitchen.´

As the adventure progresses Ishmael finds himself in the situation having to clean a kitchen that has become so dirty that he needs to flood it with a stream of water in order to make a start with cleaning up the dirt. Without spoiling the clue it may be said that this element of Ishmael’s journey has become a famous meme and symbol for spiritual transformation. A transformation that leads from Ignorance to Wisdom, from spiritual Infancy to the state of the Mature or even that of the Complete Human Being.

It is exactly this meme that is alive and may become alive here in the Garden of Nâm Living. As Yoginâm writes in a recent text: “in order to discover Nâm you have to be in a state that allows you to discover Nâm”. The Garden of Nâm Living aims at providing the optimal conditions for visitors to allow such a state to emerge. Wether one comes for a time out or a recharge, a blessing or a healing or a transformation in transcendence; wether one drinks tea and eats a bowl or rice, wether one helps out in the kitchen, in the garden or is cleaning the toilets; wether one is donating time and effort, a special talent or material means: everything you want, think, feel and do in this Garden can and should be regarded as an outward expression of an inner purification.

Whatever you do in life is what you do with life. And whatever you do with life leaves an everlasting imprint in the Garden of Soul. The state of this garden reflects and colors not only your life, but also counts at death and because it is timeless will remain in post-living. The Garden of Nâm Living reflects the Garden of Soul; the inner Garden also known as the Secret Garden.

Being in the Garden of Nâm Living allows for the possibility to purify, maintain and shape that garden towards a state in which it reflects Nâm. Imagine Ishmael cleaning this kitchen; maybe not his original idea of a nice summer vacation but certainly a necessary step towards Well-Being. Instead of being ruled by likes and dislikes, judgements and opinions in the Garden of Nâm Living all work and tasks are infused with intent; to live life in Awareness!

Harvesting the olives this year provides for a nice example. Pruning the trees, canalizing the waterflow often unexpectedly flowing into the garden, loosening and mulching the soil, enriching it with horse manure. Tending to the needs of the trees; observing them, taking care of them, supporting them. Sometimes a heavy rain, then a period of drought and immense heat, powerful winds and of course the insects. And then after one year of dedication together with our helping guests: a double harvest of almost 1000 kg of olives and over 100 liters of fluid delicious ´extra vergine´ gold. What a Feast! Guidance, Gratefulness, Patience and Awe & Wonder have set the tone for so much more than just the production of olives. They have ignited the meaning and joy that flow from a communal and continuous aim at Living in Awareness.

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