Imam Ali once said, “be like the flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it.”
We humans are like seeds. We belong to the garden. ‘But of what garden?’ we ask. ‘From what planting?’
We admit to pondering little about the matter of our growth in this Earthly garden. We barely discern the seed-like nature of ourselves; that the outer-life is a flower or husk, protecting or concealing our fragile inner life, an embryo of a new being-ness. Both pod and flower have a part to play if the whole self is ever to be born.
We search for ways to harmonize these often quarrelsome aspects. Will we ever succeed? If not, the difficult task of bearing new life onto the planet, life and vision and will, is bound to fail, with seeds falling on fallow ground.
Traditions also speak of the calamitous consequences of ignoring this enormous human responsibility. All this knowledge, the good gardener knows, and probably more. Doesn’t the gardener remember where control over conditions ends? Nature is far more powerful than us. A good gardener is well-practiced in sprouting seeds, and getting them to grow. But the ‘Garden of the Heart’ needs cultivation, to bring forth the blossoming of spirit and of a new consciousness.
Here’s a short story about ‘The Wisdom of Rumi’.
One day Sirajuddin, a Khalifa of high initiate of Rumi, went to the garden of Husamuddin and picked a bunch of flowers for Rumi. When he again entered the house, he saw that many important and learned people were sitting and listening to Rumi give a spiritual discourse. Sirajuddin was taken by the talk and forgot about the flowers. Rumi turned to him and said that whoever comes from a garden should bring flowers with him, as whoever comes from the shop of the sweet-seller is expected to bring back some sweets.
Rumi once said in such a discourse that God had a collyrium that, when applied to one’s eyes, opens the inner vision, and allows one to see the mystery of existence and know the meaning of hidden things. One also can be illuminated by the gaze of a Sheikh. Rumi reminds us that when the inward eye is opened, one sees that the flowers that grow from Earthy plants live only for a day or two, while the flowers that grow from reason and wisdom are ever fresh. The flowers that bloom from the earth become faded while the flowers that bloom from the heart produce joy. All the delightful sciences known to us are only like two or three bunches of flowers from God’s Garden. We are devoted to these two or three bouquets because we have shut the Garden-door on ourselves.
“Behold our words!” Rumi said. “They are the fragrance of those Roses, while we are the Rosebush of certainty’s Rose Garden.”
The fragrance of the Rose can lead one to the Rose itself and even the Rose-seller. But somethings Rumi was anxious about – that time should not be wasted, as he indicates in this poem:
My poetry resembles Egyptian bread;
When a night passes over it you cannot eat it anymore.
Eat it at this point when it is fresh,
Before dust settles upon it.