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A flower sitting with a group of dark rocks, bamboo, grass and the LawnZenGarden logo. A flower sitting with a group of dark rocks, bamboo, grass and the LawnZenGarden logo.

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by Carole Schwalm An assembled desktop zen garden against a white background.

The World in a Grain of Sand

Picture of far off mountains through a patch of evergreen trees When you look at a desktop Zen garden you see a box of sand, a small rake, and perhaps rocks. But, the garden is much, much more than that. First, it is a tradition that has existed since around 3000 B.C. It is a recreation of “Kari Sansui” from early Japanese temples. Many beautiful Zen gardens were created by Muso Soseki (Born in 1275), a Zen Buddhist monk, teacher and garden designer whose name is still known today. Zen gardens were silent havens for peaceful contemplation. Visualize your life and embrace the idea of flow and change when you look at a picture of a garden.

Picture of large rocks balanced upon each other The sand symbolizes water and water ripples. The decorative rocks recreate mountains. You become the garden designer when you use the little rake. The reflection of your inner feelings, just one part of the essence of your creativity emerges through your design within the patterns you create. The use of your imaginative energy will freshen your outlook, and clear your mind.

The mountains or rocks can be changed to suit your mood. Here, adding favorite rocks attached positive, happy memories, are double Zen and represent good feng shui to bring new, positive ones. It is best to use less than three rocks, and one can be stacked upon the other. Stack stones to recreate an Oriental lantern, to light way and brighten your life and perspective. And be sure to dust the rocks at least once a month, another way of clearing your mind, and to add to relieving stress.

An article in the Japanese Times (November 25, 2007) mentions the word “ma,” referring to the space between things: “Most important of all are the pauses.” A Zen garden is a way to pause.

Share your Zen Garden experience or if you'd like more information.