We make restless efforts to achieve, improve, and strive. We always want to go somewhere, like restless hunter-gatherers, or, negatively, like wanderers doomed to scavenge the earth.
That is why the image of the flower in nature is such a calm and reflective alternative to the sense of restlessness. The flower makes us pause and wonder at its beauty and its utter simplicity but more importantly at the startling fact that it has done nothing in order to be or become the way it is. No one has intervened on its behalf to bring it about. A flower is a chance occurrence of soil and wind, of rain and sunlight.
Here is the beginning of a philosophy of nature and life that is easy to grasp yet inexhaustible in its profoundness. Can we be like the “lilies of the field”? We are scattered seed upon the earth. Can we discover the optimum conditions for a simple and fruitful life, nurtured by the elements of nature, not by contrivance, artificiality, or intervention?
The seed does not sprout in places it was not meant to. We are where we are because of some ineffable circumstance, and we may never know why. That is the source of our restlessness. Can we selflessly follow the wise pattern of the flower’s growth and beauty and decay, which occurs irregardless of what it might “try” to do? How many mystics have given up on the “why” in order to throw themselves, like scattered seed, at the deeper solution: the ineffability, the mystery, the emptiness!
A field of flowers is impressive, and a bouquet of flowers has its charm, but it is the one solitary flower in the forest or the meadow or the trashheap that teaches best.