Garden Theory in a Nut Shell (or an Acorn)
One of the most influential thinkers at the forefront of the psychological movement, Carl Rogers, said: “The organism has one basic tendency and striving – to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism” (Rogers, 1951).
Rogers compared self-actualization to an acorn.
Given the right environmental conditions,
an acorn will manifest into an oak tree.
To self-actualize is to realize the highest level of our natural potential.
The same goes for flowers, plants, gardens, and well, just about every living element.
Imagine a garden of flowers in full bloom, its beauty and scents abundantly expressed at its highest level.
In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a garden. It may be happenstance that a bed of flowers bloom and thrive. I’ve seen flowers grow in the cracks of sidewalks or in the middle of a dirt patch.
There are two forces at play here. One, the external force of the environment, which is where Roger’s theory comes in, and two, the natural internal force and drive of the flower itself. What drives that flower to grow? Think about it. There has to be something there, because it’s not all just dirt and water making that happen.
All living elements have that same internal force. ‘Collective unconsciousness’ is a term coined by ‘Carl Jung’, another great philosopher, meaning the universal datum at the center of every human being. It is not something that can be learned or practiced. It is innate. Jung referenced something higher and unexplainable. in terms of this universal datum, suggesting that ‘God’ is expressed through the experience of the realization of wholeness. So, like flowers and acorns, people too, are meant to flourish and reach their full potential for the expression of that greater force.
Are you still here? That’s pretty deep stuff, but stay with me. I promise it makes sense. I’ll break it down into tangible examples. It is really simple, as simple as a flower. That’s fairly simple – isn’t it?