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Our Spiritual Garden Cum Nature Table – for Peace, Meditation and Creative Inspiration

What I am sharing with you today, my dear readers, is something that's very special to my heart. Something I have been contemplating on doing for months now but didn't find enough creative thrust to do it. Until, a week back.

I'm referring to my spiritual rock garden. Yes, that's what I call it because the desire to make something like this came from the need to create a harmonious, spiritual corner in my home. A corner where I could get away from all the distractions of the day and immerse in meditation and chanting.

You could also call it a 'nature table' because to make it, Pari and I essentially used our finds from nature – rocks, pebbles, pine cones, dried leaves and twigs, beach shells, fresh flowers, coconut shells. It isn't a coincidence really that our spiritual garden is made from natural elements because nature has actually been a powerful inspiration for me all through my life. Nature Tables are often referred to in Waldorf education that I so relate with in our home-school.

I have shared with you before that I am not religious by nature. But, what I truly resonate with is a spiritual means of connecting with the divine and with my higher self. Avie and I – ever since our marriage – have been chanting the mantras together – the Gayatri mantra and one other mantra given to us by a Guru. And, since last two years or so – a Buddhist mantra: Nam-Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge Kyo. 

I came to know of this mantra through my dear friend, Chhavi, who in turn had received from her Indian friend in the U.S. Call it sheer coincidence or call it the synchronicity of our soul and destiny, in January 2010, Chhavi and I battled our toughest times when her father suffered a fatal brain haemorrage and my mom was detected with devastating heart problems – something that would require urgent surgery involving replacement of her heart valves, aorta and the root. 

During this long, arduous emotional battle, Chhavi received a mail from her friend who shared with her his life experience about the power of this Buddhist mantra. She shared that mail with me so I could find a spiritual anchor in it. I immediately resonated with the story and read up more about this mantra. I decided to adopt this mantra as my source of sustenance to sail through that disturbing phase.

I have found that when it comes to faith, it has to come spontaneously from within you. No one can 'convince' you to follow this, worship that, go to this temple, that church. Unless, YOU 'resonate' with it, you will not feel the devotion or the 'shraddha' as we call in Sanskrit.

The same happened with me. This Buddihst mantra, by miracle, gave me the faith and conviction that I had not found until now in any other form of spirituality. 

And, that morning, when mom was fighting for dear life, in the ICU for those 8 long hours, I was chanting the mantra – nonstop – in the vistor section of the hospital – oblivious of all the commotion around and the anxious faces eyeing me. I was sending my best positive vibes to mom, so her soul and body would garner the strength and to the surgeon in whose divine hands lay my mom's life. 

All those days, Pari had watched me recite the mantra a few times a day and she started doing it with me. We both would sit in a quiet corner and together we would chant with just one goal in mind – mom's safe home-coming. 

And safe did she come back home. 

For this, I have my friend Chhavi, another friend – Vitoria and a few others to thank – for ever. The gratitude I have for them will stay in my heart for this lifetime.

This mantra – it has now become a part of our lives. We as family, recite it every day. Sometimes, twice a day.

And, this mantra picked up more subtle energy and conviction when we visited Dharamsala recently. It couldn't have been more interesting and divine that the day we reached Dharamsala, the same day, his Holiness – the Dalai Lama – landed to conduct his teachings at the Dalai Lama temple. 

The next morning, Avie, Pari and I sat in the temple premises and chanted the mantra in the his presence.

In Dharamsala, we also came to know more about a Buddhist and Hindu prayer accompaniment called the 'Singing Bowl'. I had known about it earlier but not the philosophy behind how it heals. 

The Buddhist Lamas of Eastern India (Manipur etc.) and Tibet have been using the singing bowls for hundreds of years in their religious and spiritual endeavours. The Singing Bowl is said to be made of 7 metals combined in a scientific proportion. The ancient ones also used to contain a tiny piece of a meteorite – to empower them with cosmic energy.

This alchemy enables harmonious sound vibrations when rubbed with the right wooden stick. The sounds have a relaxing and healing effect on the mind and body. When the bowl is touched or is placed on any body part, the vibrations massage the cells and release blocked energy. I have experienced that its sound is similar to the sound of 'OM' that is considered a vibration that unites the energies of the universe.

The singing bowl has been used in oriental healing practices by leading practitioners of Reiki, Chakra healing and such.

Avie and I have been reading about it ever since we bought it. We are also rubbing the bowl daily during prayer and meditation, along with Pari. 

Singing bowl was not the only gift Dharamsala gave us. We also came away with some beloved collections from nature – fallen pine cones and some ravishing river stones. We have collected river stones and beach pebbles in the past but nothing as compared to these.

When we reached that river bed, now reduced to a creek due to the onset of winter, the beauties glistening under the knee-deep water sent us into a blissful frenzy. The beauty of that place was unparalled. It was as if we had reached the abode of the Gods. And, those colourful rocks – in pink, purple, green, yellow – as if were jewels that the Goddesses adorned themselves with. 

We collected dozens of them. I knew we had to travel back. But, I had already made a mental note of how to carry them back home! 

At that point though, I had no idea how I was going to use them creatively. I just had to have them so I could marvel at them every day.

Once home, the creative bulb struck! I knew I had to make my meditation corner using those rocks and all other beauties we had collected from nature over time – the shells, the pine cones, the dried leaves, the beach pebbles. And – the gemstones – that we had picked up in a gemstone factory in South Africa. For, I know rocks, crystals and gemstones have proven healing power.

So, Pari and I dedicated a morning to creating this – our spiritual rock garden! 

Enjoy the photos. Wishing much peace, blessings, hugs and love to you my friends. :)

We made the rock garden in two iterations. First, we made it on a small Carrom board that Pari was no longer playing with. I painted it to get rid of the markings and laid out Pari's paintings on them and we created the garden on it piece by piece.

After couple of days, we realized that we needed a bigger space – to keep the singing bowl so it could be part of the corner. Realizing this, I decided to use the low square table that I was using to keep the books I wished to read for the week. 

This table – I originally made it as a pedestal for my refrigerator. Talk about re-purposing and reusing… (winks)

So, the books found another table and we re-arranged our rock garden on this one.

At the centre of our meditation garden sat a copper statue of Buddha flanked by Ganesha on both sides.

The multi-coloured gemstones from South Africa – I think this was the best place to keep them to treasure and admire their beauty.

The wooden tortoise was a gift from my brother that he had picked up in Ladakh.

In the background, I hung a 'kalachakra mandala' poster and a beautiful poster of Buddha in rejuvenating blue (the curtains in this room are also blue that help filter the sunlight creating a ocean/sky-like ambience in the room.

I picked up this turquoise and coral Buddha pendant from the Mcleodganj market in Dharamsala. 

Being a partial South Indian family, we use lots of coconuts in our cooking. I often save those shells for any art/craft activity. Now was the time to use. We filled them with rice for placing incense. 

We used a burner to burn the essential oils and placed the scented floating candles in the small glass bowls filled with water.

This mattress was made by my mom for Pari when she was born. This is somewhat bigger than a cushion and is perfect to sit down in a meditative posture – in the 'gyan mudra'.

Our Ganesha in a relaxed posture – this was a gift from mom during her recent visit to 'Haridwar'.

Folks, we absolutely love our meditation corner, our rock garden, our nature table, our spiritual spa. And, our creativity spark.

Yeah – so many names. For, it is all of these – made with pure love and dedication. 

What do you think? I would love to know your views and suggestions.

Here are some links if you want to read up more about a few things I have discussed above:

Also, I would like to know what you consider your source of spiritual sustenance? 

It could be tangible or intangible. It could be a hobby that you're much passionate about – like gardening, cooking, reading or writing.

The truth is – it should be something that unburdens you completely off your stress, of any distracting and disturbing thoughts. You should feel completely at peace when into it.

Other than that, have you tried meditation and chanting? If not, it's something worth including in your day's routine. 

Looking forward to hearing from you. (sunshiny smiles!)

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dawn November 4, 2011, 1:32 pm

    I think your garden is absolutely beautiful , a wonderful place of peace and mediation !!
    Dawn Have a wonderful weekend !

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 6:11 am

      So glad you liked our rock garden. It definitely is the most serene corner in our home. :)
      Thank you for being here and connecting. :)

  • param November 4, 2011, 4:29 pm

    Such a peaceful and wonderful post Rashmie. I am feeling so calm after reading and seeing your spiritual garden . I too have heard a lot about Buddhist teachings, will definitely go thru the links shared. God bless u and your family. A family that sits, prays and eats together is definitely my definition of a happy family.

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 6:18 am

      My dear Param,
      So good to see your here. Big Diwali hugs :)

      Your definition of a happy family makes absolute sense. In this age of immediate gratification where family time has been reduced to merely going on a vacation once a year or so, spending some daily time doing at the dinner table, or playing together for a few minutes in a day and spending some quiet time doing prayer or relaxing is something we cherish and want to preserve for ever. I would consider this one of our best family traditions.
      So happy, Param, that you liked our meditation corner/garden. I love hearing from you and exchanging thoughts with you over here. :)

  • Melissa @imaginationsoup November 4, 2011, 4:53 pm

    beautiful – both where you live and the rituals you have!

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 6:19 am

      Melissa, my friend – thank you for stopping by to share your comment.

  • Angelique Felix November 4, 2011, 8:19 pm

    Hi dear,
    I have been present in a buddhist group hearing the mantra chanting, it’s a magical sound and I understand what you say! I am also not a religious believer, but I found the way back to me and loving myself became my strongest religion. Your post is magnificent and I am grateful to connect to you in this life as we maybe already have done in others.
    With gratitude to you and your girl,

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 6:26 am

      My dear Angelique,
      I love how you say – “grateful to connect to you in this life as we maybe already have done in others.” “…as we may have already done in others” – yes, I too believe that who we meet and talk and share with – may not be a matter of chance or even – just choice. It might have some connection with who we chose in our previous lives. I don’t know much about these in-depth or with great conviction but I do see the connection! Interesting research this will make ;)
      We might want to meet Angi. :) Why am I not surprised that you’ve been present in Buddhist groups? :)
      Thank you for being here, friend, and giving an opportunity to know more about you…

  • Aparna November 5, 2011, 12:59 am

    Hi rashmie, I love what you have done!!! Beautiful and uplifting :) A real sanctuary.

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 6:30 am

      Hi and Diwali greetings to you :)
      So glad you found our garden uplifting.
      And hey, I see that link to your Udaipur post. Amazing. My family went there recently, and to Amritsar too – where I think you visited before Udaipur, right? What a coincidence! I have to read about your Udaipur trip. Plan to go there sometime…
      Cheers :)

  • vitoria antar November 5, 2011, 1:25 am

    Rashmie I enjoyed reading, seeing and learning about your prayer/meditation garden. By coincidence I have the same rocks, some of mine has names in it such: love, life, hope, beauty, serenity, believe and so on, I placed them with the small water fountain that I have which I can hear the sound of the water from the kitchen, I love that sound. In a different way I also have a Sanctuary, and with you I have learned another way to combide nature. I love the fact that you saw that beautiful man that I admire so much (Dalai Lama) and was able to pray with him. What experience! You and Pari have the perfect little garden to share your time. Thank you for sharing it with me. Much love, vitoria

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 6:34 am

      I would LOVE to see the pictures of your little fountain with the named rocks in it. The idea to write those beautiful words on it appeals to me. Next time, I will do something like this.
      So, you admire Dalai Lama? No wonder!
      Thank you my dear for being here and for your positive vibes and words. :)

  • Pritam November 5, 2011, 5:47 am

    Beautiful way of blending nature and rituals………loved ur way…
    I’m also a fan of colorful stones..in fact brought them along with me from my Leh trip. How did u manage to bring lots of them..?
    Lovely post

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 6:42 am

      So pleased to see your here :)
      Nature – o my! What would have we done without it!
      The rituals that you pointed to, I don’t consider them ‘rituals’ because all those things that I used – incense, burning oils, rice etc – I love them for what they are and for their aromatic healing quality, rather than because they are used as part of the Hindu rituals or for their religious connotation.

      Yeah, you must have spotted some of the most beautiful rocks in Leh/Ladakh. How lucky that you were able to go there. I had carried an empty sturdy bag that can be pulled with a long handle – with the intention that I will be collecting rocks and other finds from nature. Besides this, we only had one suitcase for our belongings. So, bringing the rocks back in the bag was not a drag. Besides, we were traveling back by train and not flight. So, it was easy… :)

  • Deb @ Living Montessori Now November 5, 2011, 6:58 am

    I was so happy to read that you found a spiritual practice that helped you during such a difficult time – and that your mother came home. What a beautiful spiritual rock garden! Thanks so much for linking to my post on nature trays and nature tables. I pinned your post to my Stress-Free Kids Pinterest board at http://pinterest.com/debchitwood/stress-free-kids/.

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 6:45 am

      Delighted to see you here and thank you for your thoughtful words.
      Your stress-free-kids pinterest board is so inspiring. I started following it immediately. So happy that you pinned our meditation garden over there. :)

  • Maya November 5, 2011, 6:22 pm

    Rashmie… this is incredibly beautiful! I’ve been collecting a few stones from my travels. I even painted a stone and gave it to a monk in Himachal during one of my trips. Wonder if that stone made it to his spiritual sanctuary :).

    This is seriously beautiful. I want to create one of these tables in my house now! Also, the way you’ve stacked the stones below the Buddha pendant – that is very similar to stacked stones I’ve seen in Leh. So many of the monasteries have rows and rows of stones stacked one above the other. I haven’t researched why they do that, but should.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful and joyful and peaceful space.

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 6:55 am

      The idea of giving a handpainted rock to a monk is beautiful. Why didn’t I think about it? :) Whether it made to his spiritual sanctuary or not, he must have passed you his spiritual vibes for sure!

      So glad you liked our garden so much. I would love for you to create this in your home and share the picture with us. You can email it to me or just post it on the Mommy Labs FB page.

      I too would want to read about the philosophy behind stacking the stones. Here is a good site to know more about Buddhist rituals and ceremonies:

  • Srishti November 6, 2011, 6:55 am

    Dearest Rashmie, I have seen it live and can tell your readers that when one is in front of this spiritual garden, it has all the ability to take you out of this world away from all the day to day worries and leave you in complete peace for some time !! Loved it and got so inspired that created a small one the very next day in our bedroom. Thanks a lot for sharing this …

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 7:00 am

      Srishti, my dear – so happy that you created your little corner after seeing ours.
      And, what a beautiful coincidence that you visited us the precise time when we were chanting in front of our spiritual garden. I still remember with a smile how amazed and dazed Sarah felt seeing it. The look on her face was so adorable. I loved having her sit on the mattress so she could see all the little things on the table.
      Thank you, Bhabhi dear, for being here :)

  • Kristi @ Creative Connections for Kids November 6, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Rashmie~ I am so thankful to have connected with you via our online blogging world. I have truly enjoyed reading and learning about your life and culture. As to your question, “What is your spiritual source of sustenance?” I would have to say the Bible and prayer. But what I frequently neglect is a quiet time to be still and listen. Your post has encouraged me to find or create a place in my home for peaceful meditation.

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 7:07 am

      Kristi, my dear friend,
      I am equally grateful to have known you – thanks to our blogging community. I admire your love for nature and nature-related activities and can relate so much.

      About your need to find your quiet time to connect with yourself and listen – yes, I think creating such a time can make a huge difference to your day, mental state and emotional well-being. More so since you say prayer is your source of spiritual sustenance. I would love to see your meditation corner soon enough :)
      Thank you, Kristi, for connecting here and letting me know more about you. Big hugs :)

  • Laura@art4littlehands November 6, 2011, 6:19 pm

    What a post! I loved it. I have been wanting to start meditating more. I recenty lost my faith. Well, I no longer believe in the faith of my parents so it is something I think about a lot. I would like to adopt a mantra, but haven’t found a good one for me yet. I need somthing that helps me be calm in my times of chaos and craziness. I am a yeller and often yell at my children and husband and I wish to be a much more calm person. I love your rock garden. I want to gather rocks as we travel around the world and write the dates and places on the backs of them. I think I need to get on this and start my own little rock garden to create a peaceful area in my home!

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 7:28 am

      I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and feelings here. And, so happy that you are inspired to create your own little rock garden using the rocks you’ve collected from your travels. The idea of writing the date and place behind them is a great idea. I would want to do that too.
      About faith – I may be wrong, but your current lack of calm may be due to your thinking a lot about it – in your conscious or sub-conscious mind. Hence, yes, creating this meditation corner will help and so will adopting a mantra or a shloka that you can chant.

      My friend, Chhavi (who I’ve mentioned in the post above), once shared this website with me that is a great resource for reading on faith, spirituality etc. have a look here.
      It also has books on “conquest of anger, fear” and more. This website is by the ‘Divine Life Society’ based in Rishikesh, India.


      There are many free e-books by spiritual gurus that you can download. My friend had personally recommended those by Swami Sivananda.

      I’m going to add this resource to the post above for others to explore.

  • The Monko November 6, 2011, 7:58 pm

    Wow what a beautiful table. I just loved looking at all the photos of everything on it.

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 7:30 am

      @the Monko – Welcome to Mommy Labs :) So glad you liked our nature table/spiritual garden. Thank you for stopping by to connect. See you more often. :)

  • critters and crayons November 7, 2011, 5:45 am

    I love the story and the images- Very beautiful–

  • Rashmie Jaaju November 7, 2011, 7:54 am

    @critters and crayons – thank you dear for your encouraging comment :)
    BTW, just returning from your blog and lightened up reading that “honest hubby” story of yours! Totally cute and funny! :)

  • surbhi November 7, 2011, 11:21 am

    i have been reading a lot of your creative ideas and hats off to ol of dem….but dis one truly carries so much positive vibes that every word was speaking of it amazing truly amazing way to have garden cum nature table…
    luvly actually words are falling short dats how much i lovd de concept…

  • maggy,red ted art November 7, 2011, 4:57 pm

    Wow! That is absolutely gorgeous! You did such an amazing job.

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  • Ashu November 9, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Dear Rashmie…Its such a soothing journey to go through divine energy you have presented through this blog.I could really feel that peace and positive vibes of your meditation table,Great!!
    I ‘m doing OM Chants in the morning to bring peace vibes to my soul.

  • Lianne November 10, 2011, 4:52 pm

    Dear darling Rashmie,

    I am enchanted by your dedication to your spirituality and family. This type of project takes conscientious work and purity of intention. The creativity that has gone into your Spiritual Garden Nature Table is inspiring. We have our first child on her way in less than a month, and I would love to add this to our home someday when we make space and time for it. We could all benefit from this, as I tend to collect rocks and leaves when out and about in nature. Thank you for sharing, and your daughter looks so sweet and happy.

    warm regards,

  • Phyllis Bergenholtz November 19, 2011, 4:01 pm

    It is beautiful. So calm and peaceful.

  • Ambika November 23, 2011, 4:10 am

    This is a brilliant idea for a kids room, will really get them to think of nature and appreciate the power of it every single day! Must try it when I have a kid and he/she grows up a bit :) And your lil girl is so cute!

    • Anonymous November 24, 2011, 5:43 am

      @Ambika – so pleased to see you here after a long time. Really happy that you are inspired to make one. Arey, you can make it even before the kiddo comes. Just for yourself :)
      Thanks, Ambika, for stopping by to share your lovely comment. I’ll tell Pari you like her!

  • patricia November 23, 2011, 7:16 pm

    Really lovely, Rashmie. I especially appreciate how it nurtures you in so many different ways. Now I want to create a version of my own!

    • Anonymous November 24, 2011, 5:39 am

      So glad you are inspired to make your own version of a spiritual nature table. I would love to see when you have it ready… :)

  • Makenna April 8, 2013, 12:28 pm

    LOVE THE TABLE!!! Absolutely perfect. I’ve been trying to figure what to do with mine especially since I still have a toddler. So happy to find your site- I’m sure I will frequent it often;)

  • Meena Ramesh February 26, 2014, 9:31 am

    Oh dear … Oh dear … I just know what I need to do! I’ve been dreaming of things like this on and off, but never gave it any serious thought. I used to write it off thinking its too very fairy talish… But when I saw those little lamps and the singing bowl… we’re making one right away!
    What you’ve done is soo beautiful… I cant get enough words to describe the serenity it brings through!
    And how my little girls will love this! My elder one is about a year younger than Pari – and we are big fans of her Tinker Earth as well!
    Such an inspiration – both of you!
    Thank you!