Buddha and Einstein were in the garden with me yesterday. We tended the earthly things, all influenced by celestial flows shapeshifting above, below and around this spinning globe. The garden said the lesson for the day was the theory of relativity, and as we worked amid the spring flowers, the birch flowers that look like a monarch butterfly chrysalis, the hooked eagle beak of an aquilegia flower, the lion’s roar of a dandelion (Dent de lion) leaf, the hum of a bee and the warmth of sunlit soil, we can’t help but notice the connections. We can’t help but see the morphing in and out of form: tree bark like elephant skin, grass like an insect’s wings. The bird wheeling above our heads is the egg in the nest in the camellia tree – yet to hatch. The calendula flower opening to the sun, is the petal in our salad, is the warmth of digestion after a good meal.
The ancients through time and across cultures have talked about the oneness of all things. Source as energy, divine being, God, Ram, the spirit of place, the spirit in us, everything connected. Ficino in his patron’s villa in Florence in the 1400’s spoke of us being made of stardust, he saw the slow orb of planets within, us a microcosm of the macrocosm. Drop away Ego and Body, and you have Soul: timeless, formless, ageless. Oneness. The more I see this the more I find comfort in this. Comfort of connection in a disconnected world.
Comfort of connection in a disconnected world.
The zodiac was named as such because it was observed that certain constellations would be in the same place in the sky each year as the chick chips its way out of the egg, the lamb is born, the migrations begin, sap rises and leaves fall. Cancer for spring, Sagittarius for the godwit on the wing, a circus of animals and plants marking dates on a calendar here on earth and amongst the stars overhead.
I picture Einstein in the garden seeing these forms, these patterns, these extraordinary mathematical equations of grace, circles of life and death and life again. I think he must have been a shaman, a wise medicine man who spoke in scientific tongues, and as such was awarded handsomely for his wisdom. Yet, take away the blackboard and the theories and he was as Buddha in the garden, under the tree, looking deep into nature, he was the shaman with the drum counting out the rhythm of time.
Sages come and go. Some we hear of and many we don’t, but if we dare to look, they are right there with us. Always. Nature is a galaxy of kindred spirit. The more I have come to realise this, the bigger my own heart has become. Like a universe within. The easier it is not just to see the tree, but to become the tree. In turn the tree becomes teacher, becomes sage. And in moments of loneliness, light and breath can show us the way to the gods in everything.
In every thing.
One time, I sat in silence with a woman who was dying and in the universe outside of mind, in the infinity of the open heart, we walked together in the garden. Birdsong, our song, whale song each so full of spirit, lifting us to places beyond the “I” of us. The hum of the bee is an ‘om’ of life. The garden is sound as well as form. She whispered, “thank you for taking me to the garden.”
The hum of the bee is an ‘om’ of life.
Yesterday in the garden, I pondered the poetics of life and I took the photo of the tulip that accompanies this post. This tulip almost spent, blown open by time, looking to me like the birth of our cosmos, like a beautiful botanic big bang theory. In the fading of its form, it shows me how life again begins.
Einstein, chewing grass with Buddha under the tree looked at the photo, chuckled at me and said, “ah yes my friend, look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.”