Pyramid Valley International, Bangalore is home to a beautiful Zen Garden. The Zen Garden has a symbolism and significance in the context of spirituality. Be sure to experience this unique power spot during your next visit to Pyramid Valley.
The Zen Garden at Pyramid Valley spreads over an area of one acre. It was created in 2015, as a result of a three-month conceptualization. The design is based on the premise of structuring the garden without disturbing the natural forms and the geologic features of the surrounding area. The architecture is based on the use of stones, rocks, small water body (pond), bushes and flowers which fit into the landscape. A one of a kind feature of the Zen Garden at Pyramid Valley is the inclusion of a labyrinth.
What is a Zen Garden?
A Zen Garden is a place of peace and tranquility, widely used for attaining well-being, reducing stress, calming the mind, and instilling a sense of balance and oneness. It is a specific type of a spiritual space, used as a tool to support reflection, contemplation, concentration and meditation. It is a device to draw one’s mind inwards. Designed on the principles of nature, its structure is symbolic of the the five elements, while its symmetry and patterns adhere to the harmony of natural processes. A Zen Garden typically contains swirling patterns of raked sand, rocks or stones, thoughtfully clipped flowers and shrubs and symbolic pathways. A Zen Garden is a miniature representation of natural landscapes. It is believed that the first Zen Gardens were designed in China 3000 years ago. Through Zen Buddhism and Japanese influence, they became popular across Asia, and were a common add-ons to temples, monasteries and other sacred spaces.
The Significance of the Labyrinth
The Zen Garden at Pyramid Valley International contains a labyrinthine path. Throughout history and across cultures, the labyrinth has been symbolic of the spiritual path of inner exploration. The journey to the center of the labyrinth (to the Self, Truth) is not straightforward, and is filled with dead-ends and backward-moving trails. It includes circles and spirals, which challenge our linear understanding of time and spiritual progress. Once the center is reached, we also need to find the way out of the labyrinth. This is our stepping back into the outer world, and a reminder that the two – the spiritual and the material aspects of our existence – need to remain in balance.
Walking Meditation and Mindfulness
The best way to experience a Zen Garden is to use it as a space where you can practice mindfulness through walking meditation. Walking meditation simply means meditation in motion. The essence of a walking meditation is achieving mindfulness – the state of being fully present in the moment. It is about integrating the stillness of a meditative state into our physical actions, so that we can learn how to transform our life into one of constant awareness.
The practice is simple; one should walk in a natural way, but also bring awareness into each step, by coordinating the walk with the breath. While walking in the Zen Garden, be aware of every step you make. Bring your awareness in your foot, as it touches the ground; feel the changes in the muscles of your leg, as it changes its position while moving forward; notice the sensations in your hips and your knees. Feel the moment, feel the surrounding. Be conscious of the colors you see, the sounds you hear, the smell of the trees. Enjoy the walk, as if there is no destination, no goal, just a silent appreciation of being alive. Do not analyze, do not judge, do not evaluate – remain mindful of your natural style of walk, of your posture, of the sensations in your body as you walk.
The process brings de-automation of one’s physical movements. Walking meditation is about synchronizing the walk, the mind and the breath. It helps incorporate mindfulness into our daily life. With time, our every action becomes mindful.