Tend to Your Garden: What You Plant in Your Mind, You Shall Reap. | Dr. Abeer Elgamal

Wednesday July 1, 2020
By: Dr. Abeer Mostafa Elgamal

“Listen” by Catrin Welz-Stein 

What would you call a person who plants onions and expects to reap apples? Crazy maybe? Or at best an idiot, Right? Can a cactus tree possibly produce watermelons?  Of course, it is impossible. 

Unknowingly, we go around our daily lives assuming the above “crazy” or “impossible” attitudes without evening noticing it.   We plant seeds of negativity, lack, and intolerance in our own minds every day and expect them to germinate happiness, abundance, success, and love.

I hear you saying, “mind you… I don’t plant anything; I don’t even have a garden…what are you talking about?” Well, I am talking about the garden of our existence, our minds.  But before we proceed, we need to make a distinction between brain and mind.

Brain or mind?

The brain is that magical soft matter that resides inside your skull. It is the diamond of your existence and the one organ that operates the rest of your wondrous human body, orchestrates the way your perfect organs complement one another and steers you through your life. The mind, on the other hand, is much more than the physical entity of the brain with its right and left hemispheres- though it is sometimes confused with it.  The mind is part of the invisible, transcendent world of thought, feeling, attitude, belief, and imagination. The brain is the physical organ most associated with mind and consciousness, but the mind is not confined to the brain. The intelligence of your mind permeates every cell of your body, not just brain cells.

Metaphorically, the mind is divided into three parts:  conscious, subconscious, and unconscious. The concept of three levels of mind is nothing new; Sigmund Freud, the famous Austrian psychologist was probably the first to popularize it into mainstream society as we know it today.  To drive our idea home, we are going to simplify things a little bit here: the mind is like a huge iceberg where only a fraction of it is showing above the water. This part constitutes the conscious mind which is less than 10 percent of the mind while the sub and unconscious minds constitute the remaining invisible 90 percent under the water.

copied from the Internet – Source unidentified

The conscious mind is the thinking mind; it is responsible for logic, numbers, planning, creativity, language and how you deal with the world.  The rest of the mind serves as the storeroom of your emotions and beliefs; it keeps all your experiences, every word you have ever heard, every sight you have seen even the ones you have forgotten intact. Out of these long-forgotten experiences, your sub and unconscious mind wire your conscious mind to react to the outside world.  It is also the orchestrator of all your bodily functions; it controls your breath, heartbeats, blood pressure and how your internal organs go about their miraculous daily jobs without fail 24 hours a day to the last day of our lives.  See how powerful the unconscious mind is?

Plant the Right Seeds

To go back to the analogy of the garden above, the unconscious mind, which is like the deep dark bottom of the ocean, is the fertile soil that is always ready for sowing. Thoughts and experiences are the seeds you plant inside it.  Actions are the water you use to help it grow and the sun is your feelings about your produce.  Your unconscious mind goes about its non-stop process of sow and reap every single moment of your life; it registers every thought and move you make, it stores your choice of programming.  In the garden of the unconscious mind, as in any soil, weeds tend to sprout up automatically from time to time.  Weeds are the negative thoughts of failure and doubt, of hate and intolerance. Since we live in a world that is obsessed with drama, we tend to pick up on this vibration.  We are unconsciously influenced by media which plays a huge role in negatively programming our minds.  If we are not selective of what we watch, read and the people we associate with, we become passive prey of all that is negative; we encourage weeds to grow and spread.

Life is a Game of Boomerangs

The soil does not care what you sow; if you plant flower seeds, you get flowers; you plant cactus seeds, you reap cactus.  Likewise, you cannot dwell on thoughts of failure and produce success. If you are selective of what you cultivate in your mind, it will never fail you.  You are the one who decides what kind of seeds you place in the soil of your garden and therefore, you are responsible for the end result: the fruits you reap.  Whatever you plant in the garden of your mind, you will eventually reap.    

Life itself is constant reaping and sowing; what you give, you receive. The energy you send out, will come back to you. What you do to others, will be done to you.  The game of life is the game of boomerangs; thoughts and deeds return full circle with astounding accuracy.


Dr. Abeer Elgamal, Associate Professor of English Literature, Department of Foreign Languages, Mansoura University.

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