STEP ONE: Let There Be Light
STEP TWO: Separating the Waters
STEP THREE: Dry Land. Bring Forth the Herb.
STEP FOUR: The Sun, Moon and the Stars
STEP FIVE: Creeping Things and Flying Fowl
STEP SIX: Bring Forth the Living Soul
STEP SEVEN: Rest! Rest?
Review from The Dispatch – Lexington, South Carolina
by Annalee Allen
Are you searching for eternal happiness? According to Edward F. Sylvia, you will unearth it in the garden–your "inner garden." It never occurred to me to compare my spiritual development to the growth that takes place in an actual garden. But Sylvia presents such obvious parallels between the two that, since I read his book, it is impossible for me to labor in my own back yard vegetable patch without remembering his observations.
He separates the quest for a joyous life into seven steps with each one having a designated chapter. Let There Be Light is the first step–permitting new ideas into our thought processes— "provides a catalyst for spiritual development," Sylvia writes, "similar to a plant's need for sunlight to grow." Separating the Waters is the second chapter, in which the reader learns to sort out these new ideas and information and determine what is important. "Water corresponds to knowledge. Knowledge has to be separated out from the less valuable information, just as water is distilled from its impurities... by separating the waters, we can see our way through a situation. Issues become more clear," Sylvia declares.
All the steps collect into a final lesson: a process is required to create happiness. Again, do gardens suddenly appear out of the soil with no effort? Of course they don't and Sylvia does not skip around this definite conclusion. "True success is a magical state in which our energies flow freely to meet the task at hand. It is not the absence of work or the absence of a worthy challenge, but the perfecting of our God-given abilities to unselfishly meet these challenges," he writes. "Living is doing, not getting."
Adding a private touch to the book, he includes pictures of himself and his family working in their garden and enjoying life on their farm. I took pleasure in seeing people smile while performing manual labor. I reailzed he applies these lessons to his own life.
© 2002 The Dispatch