Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Flowering of Human Consciousness

I have occasionally wondered what it is about flowers that evoke such devotion to their presence in our everyday lives; may it be for significant milestones such as a birth, or simply as a show piece to adorn a kitchen windowsill. I know my own personal fascination stems (no pun intended of course), from their intrinsic and un-wavered ability to procreate, yet embody such vulnerability and grace in their physical attributes. The ‘Brassia Rex’ orchid for instance, produces a spray of what seems at first glance fragile, delicate blooms, but in fact replicate venomous spiders to dissuade predators from disturbing their vital reproductive pieces. So, when I came across a book by Eckhart Tolle titled “A New Earth: Awakening a Life’s Purpose,” I knew that I had found the explanation for our magnetism to the embodiment of new life and evolution that can be found quite simply in a single bloom.

“Earth, 114 million years ago, one morning just after sunrise: the first flower ever to appear on the planet opens up to receive the rays of sun. Prior to this momentous event that heralds an evolutionary transformation in the life of plants, the planet had already been covered in vegetation for millions of years. The first flower probably did not survive for long, and flowers must have remained rare and isolate phenomena, since conditions were most likely not yet favorable for a widespread flowering to occur. One day however, a critical threshold was reached, and suddenly there would have been an explosion of colour and scent all over the planet – if perceiving consciousness had been there to witness it.

Much later, those delicate and fragrant beings we call flowers would come to play an essential part in the evolution of consciousness of another species. Humans would be increasingly drawn to and fascinated by them. As the consciousness of humans beings developed, flowers were most likely the first thing they came to value that had no utilitarian purpose for them, that is to say, not linked in some way to survival. They provided inspiration to countless artists, poets and mystics. Jesus tells us to contemplate the flowers and learn from them how to live. The Buddha is said to have given a silent sermon once during which he held up a flower and gazed at it. After a while, one of those present, a monk called Mahakasvapa, began to smile. He is said to have been the only one who understood the sermon. According to legend, that smile (that is to say, realization) was handed down by twenty-eight successive masters and much later became the origin of Zen.

Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness.”