Can gardening lead you on the road to Nirvana? There’s a professor who has spent a lifetime studying the meaning of happiness who believes it can. The professor is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi*, who has developed the theory of “flow” which he describes as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one”. This complete absorption in a task can be something as mundane as weeding or dead-heading. The concept is that you become so thoroughly absorbed that there’s no room in your mind for troublesome thoughts. You can become so involved that you lose track of time. The professor believes that this is just as good for your well being as a session of meditation or yoga. So the next time I’m pottering about in the garden and say “Good heavens, is that the time?” I’ll know it’s done me a power of good.
*The professor has suggested that his name should be pronounced chicks-send-me-high. Google also suggests chick-sent-me-high-ee. Still others suggest mee-hy cheek-sent-me-hy-ee.