The Power of Flowers – Spiritual Story and Explanation

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Woman Smelling the Roses

When I began to study a spiritual form of Japanese flower-arranging called Ikebana-Sangetsu, I discovered I was slowly developing a deeper understanding of the connection between all life.

In our first class, my teacher said that flowers can actually talk, that they each have their own way of being beautiful. They have prana, life force, so you have to pay full attention to them, rather than imposing your own ideas of beauty on them. So I began to ask the flowers how they wanted to be arranged, what positioning would make them feel most beautiful, and I waited and listened.

Even after the flowers had been set in the vase, I would discover sometimes that in the morning they had rearranged themselves during the night. Even though they were secured in the vase, they always seemed to be minutely straining to find their right place. At the same time, they were not fully independent; they needed loving care. They were dependent on me, or whomever their caretaker was for the day, to water them, to keep them moist.

Sometimes I would watch other people spraying water on the arrangements and I would feel so moved. The droplets left on the green petals and flower buds seemed to be dewdrops of compassion, so delicately poised, touching the source of life, nourishing the heart of beauty.

This experience made me feel how simple it could be, if our minds and hearts are set in the right way, to water not only plants, but human beings — to treat all living creatures in a way that allows them their right to be beautiful, in their own space and time.

What we came to notice in our class was that flowers could also listen. Our teacher urged us to always remind the flowers when we passed how beautiful they were and to thank them for sharing that beauty with us.

When we did this, when we made our arrangements with this kind of love and devotion, we always found that the flowers remained beautiful and fresh for many more days than expected.

© 2010. Pamela Bloom, All rights reserved. From The Power of Compassion: Stories that Open the Heart, Heal the Soul and Change the World (Hampton Roads, 2010), available in bookstores and at Amazon.com

To see a Youtube rendition of this story, click here.

Pamela Bloom is an award-winning writer, and spiritual counselor and vibrational healer. This passage is from her new book THE POWER OF COMPASSION: Stories that Open the Heart, Heal the Soul and Change the World (Hampton Roads, 2010). http://www.BooksbyPamelaBloom.com.

What Is the Spiritual Moral / Meaning of “The Power of Flowers” Story?

In the profound journey of studying Ikebana-Sangetsu, a spiritual form of Japanese flower-arranging, a revelation unfolded: the essence of interconnectedness. Flowers, vessels of life force, began to unveil their silent language, teaching a timeless spiritual truth that extends far beyond their petals.

Listening to the Whispers of Beauty: In the sacred practice of Ikebana-Sangetsu, the first spiritual lesson whispered by the flowers is the importance of listening. Each bloom possesses a unique beauty, a distinct voice that longs to be heard. When we attune our senses to the subtleties of nature and approach with reverence, we learn to listen not just with our ears but with our hearts. In the symphony of existence, every being, like a flower, yearns to express its intrinsic beauty. Through mindful attention, we unlock the wisdom of the universe.

Allowing Beauty to Unfold: The flowers, our silent mentors, urge us to release the grip of our preconceived notions of beauty. Like life, their essence is a continuous dance, an unfolding narrative of grace. When we relinquish control and allow the flowers to guide the arrangement, we emulate the art of surrendering to the natural rhythm of existence. In this surrender, we find beauty not confined by rigid structures but one that effortlessly weaves through the tapestry of life, expressing itself in the delicate dance of petals and leaves.

Discovering the Art of Compassion: As we nurture the flowers with loving care, we encounter the profound art of compassion. The act of watering, a simple gesture, becomes a sacred offering. The droplets that delicately kiss the petals are not mere water; they are droplets of compassion, nourishing the heart of beauty. In this intimate connection, we learn that compassion is not grandiose gestures but resides in the tender, everyday moments of tending to the needs of others, be they flowers or fellow beings.

Embracing Interdependence: Observing the flowers subtly rearrange themselves in the stillness of the night, we glimpse the intricate dance of interdependence. Secured in the vase yet yearning for their perfect place, the flowers teach us the delicate balance between independence and reliance. In this dance of existence, we acknowledge our interdependence with all living things, recognizing that, like the flowers, we are intricately connected and reliant upon the support of the universe.

Cultivating Reverence for Life: Ikebana-Sangetsu encourages us to extend our mindful care beyond the flowers, fostering a reverence for all living creatures. When we witness the act of watering, our hearts open to the simplicity of bestowing respect and nurturing the life force in every being. Through this practice, we discover the potential to cultivate an environment where beauty flourishes, not just in floral arrangements but in the tapestry of all existence.

Acknowledging the Power of Gratitude: In the sacred space of Ikebana-Sangetsu, gratitude becomes a powerful force. As we create arrangements with love and devotion, acknowledging the beauty of the flowers, they respond by gracing us with prolonged freshness. This reciprocal relationship unveils the transformative power of gratitude — a force that, when expressed sincerely, has the ability to sustain and invigorate the beauty in our own lives and the lives of those we touch.

Tending to the Soul's Garden: Beyond the physical act of arranging flowers lies a deeper spiritual truth: the garden of the soul. Ikebana-Sangetsu becomes a metaphor for tending to the soul's garden, where the flowers represent the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that shape our inner landscape. By mindfully arranging these elements, we cultivate an inner sanctuary, fostering a space where the soul's beauty can bloom and be acknowledged.

Honoring the Sacredness of Beauty: The practice of reminding the flowers of their beauty and expressing gratitude elevates the act of flower arranging to a sacred ritual. This profound acknowledgment instills a sense of sacredness into every interaction, inviting us to honor the inherent beauty within ourselves and others. In this sacred space, we recognize that beauty is not just an external manifestation but a divine essence residing within the core of all existence.

Celebrating the Eternal Now: In the heart of Ikebana-Sangetsu, the flowers impart a timeless lesson — the celebration of the eternal now. By immersing ourselves fully in the present moment, we discover the beauty that exists beyond the constraints of time. In this eternal now, we find the essence of life, ever-changing, ever-blooming, and eternally beautiful.

Becoming Co-creators of Beauty: Ultimately, the spiritual significance of Ikebana-Sangetsu lies in the realization that we are co-creators of beauty. Just as we arrange flowers with intention and love, we have the power to shape the beauty in our lives and the lives of others. Through conscious, heart-centered actions, we contribute to the blossoming of a more beautiful world, where the interconnected dance of existence is honored, and the fragrance of love permeates every petal.

Personal Reflection Questions

Spiritual stories are an opportunity to reflect on your own life. Here are 10 questions you can use to go deeper with the teachings in this story:

  1. Listening to the Language of Beauty: Reflect on moments when you've truly listened to the beauty around you, as the flowers in Ikebana-Sangetsu are said to “talk.” How might this practice of attentive listening enhance your connection to the beauty inherent in the world?
  2. Acknowledging the Life Force within All: Consider the concept of prana, the life force within flowers. How can recognizing and respecting the life force in others, whether human or non-human, deepen your understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things?
  3. Imposing vs. Allowing Beauty: Explore instances in your life when you've imposed your own ideas of beauty on a situation or person. In what ways might embracing the Ikebana-Sangetsu approach, allowing beauty to unfold naturally, transform your relationships and experiences?
  4. The Dance of Independence and Dependence: Reflect on the delicate dance between independence and dependence observed in the flowers. How might acknowledging our interdependence with others and the environment foster a sense of shared responsibility and care?
  5. Nourishing Beauty with Compassion: Recall moments when acts of compassion felt like dewdrops, delicately nourishing the source of life. How can incorporating compassion into your interactions create a more nourishing and heartful existence?
  6. Simplicity in Watering Lives: Contemplate the simplicity of watering plants and the profound impact it has on their well-being. How might adopting a similarly simple and mindful approach contribute to the emotional and spiritual well-being of those around you?
  7. Awakening the Source of Life: Consider instances when you've felt a profound connection to the source of life, similar to the dewdrops touching the flowers. How can these moments of connection serve as a reminder to approach life with reverence and gratitude?
  8. Treating All Beings with Beauty: Ponder the idea of treating all living creatures in a way that allows them their right to be beautiful. How might this shift in perspective influence your daily interactions and relationships?
  9. Expressing Gratitude for Beauty: Explore how expressing gratitude, as encouraged by the Ikebana-Sangetsu teacher, has enriched your experiences. How can incorporating gratitude into your daily life enhance your connection to the beauty within and around you?
  10. Creating Beauty with Love and Devotion: Reflect on moments when you've approached tasks with love and devotion, akin to making Ikebana-Sangetsu arrangements. How might infusing love and devotion into various aspects of your life lead to unexpectedly prolonged moments of beauty and freshness?

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