spiritual writings | retreat center directory

You're invited to visit our sister site DanJoseph.com, a resource site
featuring articles on spirituality, psychology, and A Course in Miracles.

Home | Writings | General | George Anderson | Walking part 1 | next   

Excerpted from Walking in the Garden of Souls by George Anderson. Copyright 2001 by George Anderson. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"The Garden waits for all of us who have the courage to travel the bumpy and crooked roads of the earth until they eventually broaden, smooth out, and lead us there."

  George Anderson
Walking in the Garden of Souls
, Part 1

Imagine your life. Imagine your life, not as it is now and not how it used to be, but imagine your life the way love songs, fairy tales, and bedtime stories told you it was going to be. Imagine waking up one fine morning from a soft bed into luminous sunlight, beginning each day feeling warm, well fed, well loved and well cared for. Imagine moving effortlessly through your day, surrounded by the people you love, working at a job that brings you a sense of such joy and accomplishment that you love being in service to others.

Imagine returning home at the end of your lovely day to a beautiful warm house filled with the smiling faces of those you truly love, where there are good things to eat and evenings are spent by a glorious fire, laughing with careless abandon. Imagine drifting outside and walking under a star-filled sky where fireflies dance in the warm breeze. Imagine walking in a beautiful garden -- just over a hill of constant torment, past the rocks of hurt and anger, over the brook of constant worry, past the weeds of intolerance and hatred, to a place of such perfect peace that even the ground feels soft and receptive beneath your feet. The fire of true love can be rekindled there by a carpet of heather, and reconciliation with the past can happen in an open field of understanding, lit by a golden sun of forgiveness. Turmoil and anguish disappear under a shady tree. Trouble never lived here and peace will never leave. No one ever grows old, no one ever becomes ill, and no one ever dies. Welcome to the world of the hereafter-welcome to the Garden of Souls.

There is a Garden of Souls. It is not only a real and vibrant place, but it is also closer than we can imagine. It is where we once lived, and it is also where we will return. It is a place we will see again only after our lifetime of struggle, hardship and hurt has earned us the reward of true and final peace.

The Garden waits for all of us who have the courage to travel the bumpy and crooked roads of the earth until they eventually broaden, smooth out, and lead us there. It is a place of unusual beauty and peace, where the love and understanding that somehow eluded us on the earth can be found as abundant as the oxygen we breathe. It is a place where not only our loved ones who have passed on live and grow, but also a place where our lost hopes and dreams will be absorbed and recycled, after having been tossed by cruel circumstance from the earth. 

Even though we have no conscious recollection of it now, we were once born of this world and we understood it well. Even though we may not feel it now, we were once children in the Garden of Souls with hearts filled with love and peace. But living on the earth, we have become so easily disarmed by the circumstances of life here and the struggles we have to endure, that our disappointment and despair have eroded the memory of that place and diminished in our hearts the wonderful light from the Garden. 

The longer we live on the earth, the more life circumstances drain the reserves of the peace and love we had before our journey here began. We live on, we get older, we experience pain, we endure tragedy -- our hearts harden, our peace disappears, and our souls no longer remember why we are here. We forget that we are on the earth to learn strength in our adversity, to learn peace in our struggle, to learn joy in our sorrow -- to learn. This is the understanding that leads us to knowledge, and our knowledge that leads us back to the Garden -- back to our home.

next ->