“If you pass by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it, God gets real pissed off.” Alice Walker
In our final month of Unitarian Universalist spiritual practices, we return to the practice of observation of a particular element, in June, flowers. For UUs, flowers, which are part of one of our of annual rituals, symbolize our planet. Flowers represent the marvelous diversity and beauty of the earth, reminding us of how much there is to see and learn if only we pay attention. Each flower is unique yet part of the larger eco-system, just like people. We all belong.
So we will notice – not just the colour purple – but all the colours of the flowers. By turning our awareness towards flowers, we might see the great beauty of this world.
Taoist Flower Gazing
Although I am doubtful that this is a formal taoist practice, this concept fits into a Unitarian sense of engaged meditation – bringing our attention towards a single flower. This 10 -15 minute meditation could be done alone, in a small group, or with children. You might have a single flower that everyone considers, or have each person choose a flower.
Find a flower. Set up a space that allows you to have the flower at eye level. Put it on a coffee table and sit on a cushion on the floor, or pile some books on the table so that when you sit on a chair, the flower is high enough you don’t have to bend your head up or down to see it.
Once you have set up the space, get comfortable, close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Let your breathing slow down and your body relax.
Open your eyes and gaze at the flower. Try to keep your focus soft. Look at the flower, at the shape of its petals, at the stamen, at the stem and leaves. See how they fit together. Look at the colours. Smell the air and see if there is a scent.
Keep bringing your focus back to the flower but try to allow your vision to be wide. See the flower in the context of the space, but keep the flower in the foreground.
If you would like to touch the flower, do so, but move your hand slowly and gently.
Take your time. When you feel you have seen as much as you can take in, thank the flower (through a nod, through words, through silent appreciation). Close your eyes. Think about what you saw and how you responded.
When you are ready, open your eyes and go about your day.
This mediation has been adapted from about.com.