grace + gravity

Truth + Tulip Seeds

An excerpt from Paulo Coelho's book The Spy:

On the day of my departure, my mother called me over and gave me a packet of seeds. "Take this with you, Margaretha."

I asked what the seeds were for.

"They're tulip seeds. The symbol of our country. But, more than that, they represent the truth you must learn. These seeds will always be tulips, even if at the moment, you cannot tell them apart from other flowers. They will never turn into roses or sunflowers, no matter how much they might desire to. And if they try to deny their own existence, they will live life bitter and die. So you must learn to follow your destiny, whatever it may be, with joy. As flowers grow, they show off their beauty and are appreciated by all. Then, after they die, they leave their seeds so that others may continue God's work. Flowers teach us that nothing is permanent: not their beauty, not even the fact that they will inevitably wilt, because they will still give new seeds. Remember this when you feel joy, pain, or saddness. Everything passes, grows old, dies, and is reborn."

How many storms must I weather before I understand this?

“Even the tallest trees are able to grow from tiny seeds like this. Remember this and try not to rush time.”

When we don’t know where life is taking us, we are never lost.

I have always appreciated the eloquence with which Paulo Coelho describes metaphors for life, and this one in particular stood out to me because I have also always admired flowers. How do such large and expansive plants, blooms and even trees, erupt from their teeny, tiny seeds? That little morsel holds all of the information, determination and magnitude to bear the ultimate natural beauty. Plants don't desire to be one or the other, and they don't alter themselves for vanity - they just grow as they do, bearing the scars or witness marks of their environment, always doing their very best to grow, bloom and cycle through their reproduction. 

Paulo Coelho is well known for writing about destiny. This, you will know, if you have ever read his book The Alchemist; it's one that I return to time and time again (it's also a really brief audiobook for those of you who prefer to listen). Destiny can mean a lot of things, religious and non, but to me, I see it as an act of trust, or at least good faith. There is no dark without light or light without dark, and the same is true in life - there are no good times without bad times or bad times without good times. There is an ebb and flow. 

Sometimes we become so wrapped up in our pessimism that all we seem to register are bad things and bad times, and we feel down on our luck. But there is always something to be acknowledged if we take the time to look for it. Knowing this makes it much easier to acknowledge that things will come and go, and that time and events will pass as they will. 

In my years of wading through the practice of meditation, I found an explanation of it by one of my friends the best advice for it and for life in general - meditation is not having an empty mind. That is likely impossible anyway. Meditation is simply a quieting of the mind, and it is a practice of non-attachment. Thoughts, ideas, opinions, concerns, grocery list items, curiosities; they will all rise in your mind whether you are meditating or not. Seeing those thoughts, acknowledging them for what they are, and then letting them pass, that is the practice of meditation. These things will come and go, and eventually, they will pass.

Surrendering to this knowledge is knowing that time will pass and things will do as they are meant to. This is the same way seeds are meant to bloom into whatever they are, given the ripe conditions. We are the same. We may not know from the beginning what we are meant for, but believing that we are all meant for a particular destiny is a trust of exactly what is, and that we and time are passing as we should.

Photos are my own. Please do not use or reproduce without my written permission.


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