Why does a sunflower even exist? What is it that it takes from the world? Is it not simply an observer of the world around it? To be a seeker of the Sun and spread its attendant light and goodness – is that not the sole purpose of sunflower’s journey?
All these questions came flooding into my mind as I took shelter under the trees near the river bank. In my return to the walking trails on Friday morning, I had been caught in a sudden downpour. The invitation was to pause and observe even more intently than I typically do when I am walking. The river was already swollen from the week’s rain, as was evident from the swift currents flowing through some of the typically dry channels near the shore.
As the rain intensified, I bided my time observing the changes in the 200 foot bluff on the far bank, the slight yellowing of the canopy of leaves under which I stood, the tributaries formed by recently fallen tree trunks, and more. But where were the sunflowers I had been hoping to see on today’s walk? Not a one in sight so far.
A break in the downpour meant it was decision time – do I continue the walk or do I call it a walk and return to the car that was parked a few hundred feet away? One sweeping look at the dark skies gave me the answer. I would walk back to the car, along the trees lining the shore, so that I could take in a little bit more of the river’s majesty on this day.
In my dozens of previous walks past this location, I had never ventured to this tree-lined section of the river bank. I had no idea that I would be welcomed by a bevy of wildflowers a few hundred feet later! Many of them had seen better days, but there were a few that were still seeking the Sun and attracting bees. A stairway of tree roots led me down to the very wet bank, and as I turned around to return, there they were. Dozens of them in full glory, reaching skywards, each yellow flower seemingly pulling their companions higher on their respective journeys.
It was in that moment that I realized what I had missed most about “working from home” during the pandemic. I had missed the serendipity of days like this where I could simply go observing and be filled by the joy of the infinite beauty that surrounds me. Yes, one doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles to observe beauty, but sometimes, the journey amplifies the joy of the experience.
The same amplification is perhaps true of the seeker’s, the observer’s journey into the within. The pandemic, and the hours saved in commuting to work, gave me the extra time every day to commit to my inner observations. What is my mind doing with this sensory input? Why are my emotions rising or falling in response to this observation? Where did this flash of anger spring from? What is the state of the light within my heart? Am I remembering to focus on simply being the observer and not the reactionary, the evaluator, the arbiter of my daily observations?
If we choose clarity and openness, we can eventually arrive at a point where we go beyond self-observation and ask – who is the One who is the real observer? When we arrive at that answer, we can know the truth of Oneness. Until then, we continue to take joy in the Sunflowers of the world that unceasingly, unfailingly, and ever so joyfully remind us to keep our heart pointed towards the light. Namaste.
P.S. Join us for our weekly Twitter chat, Sunday Aug 15 at 9amET / 630pm India in #SpiritChat w/host @AjmaniK ~ Namaste