From time to time, I wrest myself from the here and now and cast my mind back to times now long past. There, somewhere in my history, I catch a glimpse of that moment, that time when I first felt the kernel of a world beyond.
I recall the growing anticipation as the old and the new filed in to take their seats. I can still sense the shifting pulse of words exchanged; a swelling dance of buoyant hope and tranquil experience. And then, the hush. On cue, the voices ceased, yet still something remained, at least it did in me. As each rose to speak, stilted utterances sifted through the fermenting energy that sat within me, the intended message stripped of any real meaning. And then came that voice, effortlessly piercing all that lay in its path. A seed.
Nothing can exist by itself alone. It has to depend on every other thing. That is called inter-being…there is no being; there is only inter-being…
Looking deeply into a flower, we see that the flower is made of non-flower elements. We can describe the flower as being full of everything. There is nothing that is not present in the flower. We see sunshine, we see the rain, we see clouds, we see the earth, and we also see time and space in the flower. A flower, like everything else, is made entirely of non-flower elements. The whole cosmos has come together in order to help the flower manifest herself, The flower is full of everything except one thing: a separate self, a separate identity.Thich Nhat Hanh, 2003, No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life
Periwinkle. The clouds were making footprints in the periwinkle sky that day. I watched, mesmerised, as she moved along the lush flower studded field, her eyes weaving golden threads with all she touched. She floated, she tumbled, she twirled, a child spellbound by the wonder of inter-being. A child who lay herself with gay abandon on the earth below her feet to gaze into the hidden depths of a flower that called her. I still remember her laughter. I still live her laughter.
That night, I dreamt of stardust and magic, of space beyond space. I dreamt of a fairy and of the flower she kissed.
There was no thought, there was no purpose as I made my way across that verdant field the next day. There was just – is. There was no other way. I approached the flower, her flower, and as did she, I lay down on the ground and joined it. And I asked of it.
Who are you flower? How have you become the way you are? What is the story of the seed that gave you life, what is the story of the seed before that and those before that. Who are your ancestors and what made them who they were? How has all that exists and has existed come to manifest itself in who you are? Who can you be?
The flower spoke, and I listened.
Look deep within me and find the beauty that can be. Search beyond and learn the way I have become who I am. I have come from what exists, and what has existed before. You cannot change what exists outside yourself, but you can nurture me to be what I can be. Feel the earth, the sun, the air, the rain. Taste it with me, live it with me. You are the one who dares to look and ask, you are the one who has seen the fairy, you are the one who knows that the fairy and I are one and the same. Be a part of me as I will be a part of you. Exist with me.
A world beyond awaited, and I found it.