Don’t go outside your house to see flowers.
My friend, don’t bother with that excursion.
Inside your body there are flowers.
One flower has a thousand petals.
That will do for a place to sit.
Sitting there, you will have a glimpse of beauty
inside the body and out of it,
before gardens and after gardens.
~The Kabir Book – Robert Bly version
One of the sweetest realizations is that “Nature” is not somewhere else, that “Nature” is not somewhere you go, that “Nature” is not something separate. The sweetest realization is that nature is the nearest of the near, the dearest of the dear.
True, it can be wonderful to feel the wind blowing on your face, to gaze at a multicolored sunset, to feel the roar of the ocean with its salt and foam and energy.
True, it can feel marvelous to marvel at the beauty and intricacy of a flower, and breathe in the gentle aroma of roses and jasmine.
It’s also true that the interplay with and between other animals can bring delight and cultivate the awareness of our interbeing.
Still, these all pale in comparison to experiencing the glimpse of that flower with a thousand petals that the Sufi poet Kabir mentions.
There are so many methods of stillness and meditation that can pave the way to experiencing that joy. As Patanjali wrote thousands of years ago in the Yoga Sutras, there are many methods to minimizing mental distractions and experiencing this inner flower. He also suggested choosing one without prescribing any single one. This numerous list includes compassion, rejoicing, concentration, breathing, action, devotion, and whatever works (1.39).
Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, I am determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist teachings are guiding means to help me learn to look deeply and to develop my understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill or die for.
It’s that same message, that no single method will guide us to that inner nature. The real lesson is that we already have it within.