Yes, it’s what I want. We’ve talked here often of contemplative prayer and its peeling away the layers of the false self. We’ve talked of Holy Detachment. Along with the question I placed in the previous post, another line from the video spoke to me: “…nothing should ever be placed in such a way that it doesn’t express its own vitality and character.” How can we express our own vitality and character, our true self rather than our false self, until the false is completely stripped away? This is why I repeated the question asked near the end of the video: “What actually is not needed, in order to see what is essential?” Perhaps we could also ask, “What actually must die in order to reveal our essence?”
I had seen the Ikebana video a while ago; it spoke to me, and so I saved the link in my drafts. Recently, one of Lucy’s posts had me thinking deeply, and the video came back to mind. Then one of those serendipitous events occurred. Lucy had quoted Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her post: “The most exhausting thing you can do is to be inauthentic.” I didn’t know the source of the quote, but I had more than a few passing thoughts that I would like to read more of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s writings. A couple of days later I was in the thrift shop looking for a small wicker basket and I took the time, as I usually do, to browse through the books. Generally, I only look at the hardcover books, because the paperbacks are usually all genres which don’t appeal to me. But for some reason I scoured the racks of paperbacks as well, and lo and behold, what did I see but Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift from the Sea.” And what a gift it was (and I’m not referring to the 49 cents I paid for it). Now, I know I’m probably coming late to this book; many of my American online friends here, particularly the women, probably read it years ago, but “better late than never” certainly holds true in this case for me. (Kristin, it is this book to which I was referring in a comment where I said it was helping me to centre and rebalance).
I know I’m making this post overly-long by doing so, but I’d like to share with you a couple of paragraphs from the book (I will be sharing more later) that coincide nicely with the Ikebana video in terms of how the artist was asking us to be curious about the weight and the fullness, to ask ourselves “where is the space, where is the line?” Becoming aware of the weight, the fullness, the space and the lines in our day-to-day existence and doing whatever it takes to simplify and bring things into balance and harmony will lead to the same thing interiorly. Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes:
“For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms. Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant – and therefore beautiful. A tree has significance if one sees it against the empty face of the sky. A note in music gains significance from the silences on either side. A candle flowers in the space of night. Even small and casual things take on significance if they are washed in space, like a few autumn grasses in one corner of an Oriental painting, the rest of the page bare.
My life in Connecticut, I begin to realize, lacks this quality of significance and therefore of beauty, because there is so little empty space. The space is scribbled on; the time has been filled. There are so few empty pages in my engagement pad, or empty hours in the day, or empty rooms in my life in which to stand alone and find myself. Too many activities, and people, and things. Too many worthy activities, valuable things, and interesting people. For it is not merely the trivial which clutters our lives but the important as well. We can have a surfeit of treasures – an excess of shells, where one or two would be significant.”
[Gift from the Sea; pgs. 114-115]