The Japanese rock garden or zen garden employs simple elements in a miniature setting to represent the larger and grander scale of elements in nature.
Small rocks are used to represent mountains and sand is used to represent water.
The rocks can be placed in groupings of 3 or more together or arranged singly in either upright or horizontal positions.
The sand is raked into flowing or circular patterns to imitate the flow of streams around the rocks, much as mountain streams flow downward from the hills and around nature’s elements of trees, islands, boulders, and other land masses and barriers.
Zen gardens (and gardens in general) are a great source of meditation, relaxation, and contemplation in our often hurried and hectic daily lives.
The great advantage of the zen garden is that it can be created on an extremely small scale and kept close at hand for a brief “gardening experience” at any time in the midst of your busy day.
This is accomplished by incorporating a desktop-sized miniature zen garden into the “office supplies” necessary to carry out the daily activities of commerce in your chosen world.
The tabletop model I have measures a mere 3 inches wide by only 10 inches long.
If your miniature zen garden is kept nearby, it’s convenient to reach for during the day as you pause to reflect upon (and to seek resolutions to) whatever obstacles may be cluttering your mind.
Or to more freely consider whatever thoughts or meditations and reflections you choose to allow to flow through your mind in order to refresh yourself.
Stop for a few minutes and take a visit to your little tabletop zen garden where you can rearrange the rocks (mountains) blocking your vision, and rake the sand (rivers) into a more flowing pattern to ease your journey through the tumultuous rapids of life!
Or you may want to create your own outdoor zen garden in your backyard at home. Again, this can be accomplished on a small scale, still using rocks or boulders placed as you choose and flowing sand to imitate the flow of water.
Fine gravel can also be used in place of the sand in your outdoor zen garden. This is also easily raked into flowing patterns and may more readily stay in place than sand which can sometimes be washed out of place during times of heavy rainfall.
Whatever size zen garden you create, whether backyard or tabletop, think of your little meditation garden as a welcoming haven for reflection and rejuvenation--a little imitation of nature designed to restore you to a more tranquil state of flow through your daily journey.