The plant as teacher

This orchid in front of me is the subject of today’s meditation. For almost a year I tended it, wondering if new buds, and so new flowers, would ever appear. Once, when I was away, it suffered a set-back from too much exposure to heat from the sky-light. Then, nine months later, tiny buds began to appear. Week by week, I would watch, wondering whether they would grow. And now, at last, it has flowered.

Whatever angers, resentments, jealousies, distractions, negativity we may experience while meditating, each time we let go and return to a focus on the breath, or our mantra, then, over weeks, months, something mysterious begins to happen. Gently, barely discernibly, in the silence of meditation, psychological knots are loosened and those secret poisons which invade our psyches are slowly drained away. As the Sufi master Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee says in his book, Catching the Threads, “Spiritual life is a process of inner transformation like seeds planted deep in the earth. The spiritual processes slowly germinate and may take years to flower into consciousness.” As with the orchid, it is not a process that can be hurried. One day, however, we wake up and see that the buds, so carefully tended, have broken into flower.

I end with some words from Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now:

“The plant that you have in your home – have you ever truly looked at it? Have you allowed that familiar yet mysterious being we call ‘plant’ to teach you its secrets? Have you noticed how deeply peaceful it is? How it is surrounded by a field of stillness? The moment you become aware of a plant’s emanation of stillness and peace, that plant becomes your teacher.”

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