Mind Garden

Published on Jul 24, 2020

I've been toying with this idea of creating a mind garden, a gardening guide for your mind, in public.

As a fervent collector of ideas from disparate places, I already have stacks of notes housed in various platforms, but that is as far as it goes. 

They are not mating (yes, this word) with each other to form even more powerful learnings. 

Additionally, it would be great to write just a few sentences or even just keywords on why, how, and what that particular idea resonates with me when I note it down. This helps when I look back to understand the context of why it stood out in the first place.

To facilitate this, it helps to have a two-way linking documentation tool to create a "digital garden". Sharing your "digital" mind garden with others is one way to learn and grow faster. There are many open and closed source options, but I'm going to give Obsidian a try. 

You can see other options from Maggie Appleton here.


The below is a summary of notes I've taken from Ness Labs' article to help me to further absorb this concept of a mind garden.

About the mind garden metaphor

Taking care of your mind involves cultivating your curiosity (the seeds)

  • Seed your mind garden with quality content. It is possible that if you are reading a subject that is closer to the source, the deeper the insights.
  • Strive for diversity rather than perfection on the source.

Examples and its pros & cons

  • Reading books might give you broad insights on a topic, so you can plant many seeds (albeit light)
  • Reading research paper might give you deeper insights into a specific scientific process and its methods, but peer-reviewed publications don't stand up to scrutiny.

Growing the (branches) of your knowledge tree (the trees)

  • When consuming content, take notes. As long as you write what you've learnt in your own words, you will be able to benefit from the generation effect (you remember information when you create your own version).
  • Over time you'll go back to certain areas of your garden, and that's fine. It's your garden! Develop your own perspective and gardening expertise.

Tend to your garden. Plant new ideas to produce new thoughts (fruits)

  • Replant stems and cuttings from existing ideas. This can mean combining the notes you have taken to develop a new ideas and insights. Think of a pomato, a weird hybrid of a tomato and potato.
  • Share what you've learnt with other gardeners. Leverage the knowledge of other mind explorers.