English version below…
Last Chinese New Year in 2016, I bought 2 pots of flowers and one of them was sunflower, something that I love very much as it signified a beautiful friendship.
But both plants died after a few weeks, and other than feeling slightly upset, I told myself that I’m just not cut out for this.
It was months later when Elaine bought another pot of plant – pomegranate (I didn’t know the name till recently) and I tried my best to take care of it too, but still it didn’t last long and what was left was just the bare branches.
I have since given up the idea of gardening as I had too many personal issues and problems to handle.
For the past one year plus, I’ve been seeking the truth of life, hoping to get to know myself better.
Ever since I started reading on inner peace, I begin to believe that we all have an inner child within ourselves, and he is in someway controlling our actions and behaviours. It became more apparent when I started to meditate and I could see my inner child feeling weak and in fact hiding some truths from me. And these truths are the triggers to the sudden disappointments which upset me many a times.
I attempted (still attempting) to talk to my inner child often, especially during meditation or when a sudden negative emotion rushed to my head. And I will then stop for that moment and observe myself, searching for the true trigger that caused the rise in my temperament.
Although I have not attained the level of being mindful, I am sure I’m moving from not being aware to the level of being self-aware on the spot (when things happened).
A month ago, I took a day’s leave to allow my body and soul to rest. And as I was looking out of my windows after breakfast, I recalled the last experience I have had with the 2 pots of flower. Suddenly, there was an urge to have another pot of plant to cultivate the interest in gardening, as part of my soul searching journey.
I requested Elaine to buy another pot of pomegranate so that I can learn something on gardening. When I received the pomegranate, I took note of the name and searched on line for its characteristics and understood that it is a plant that needs lots of sunlight. Hence, I placed it on the common corridor of our flats and near to the window and made a decision to take care of it whole heartedly.
I watered it day and night, with constant reminders, and observed its growth. It was just barely 4 to 5 days before I saw the flowers withering and some of the leaves were falling off from the branches. I was wondering have I given it too much water and felt disappointed with myself.
My confidence level dropped.
I was about to give up when something coincidental happened, which made me found the possible root cause.
It was 29 July 2017, a Saturday morning. I was stepping out of my house and took a quick glance of the stairway. What I saw was the morning sun shining on the wall of the stairway, and the aluminium window ledge casted a shadow onto the wall.
As if something that struck my mind, I turned and looked at my pomegranate, and there it was sitting still without sunlight. All these while, it has not been given the sunlight that it needs.
I searched on line again to confirm my understanding and quickly moved it to the stairway where sunlight can be found.
And then all the stuffs that I read on books about inner peace, inner self, soul searching, enlightenment came to my mind, they are all talking about “love”. I also recalled that I have read somewhere about all things in this world are spiritually alive, and experiments have proven that cooked rice behave differently with or without love after a few days.
Base on these theories, I gave the pomegranate plant a name, and as I water it every day and night, I called its name and talked to it, either a good morning, or a good evening. At times, I would also chat with it for a little while and say love to it. I treat it as my confidante and share my thoughts.
I believe strongly, that it will be able to feel my love and grow up strong and healthy.
A week later, it was another usual evening when I watered the plant. But what I noticed was that the 2 little buds have grown bigger, and besides these two, there are another 5 buds that seem to come out of nowhere!
I was so excited that I rushed into the house, grabbed my phone and started snapping pictures of the buds. I knew at that moment that my love for it has been rewarded, it has been touched and moved, that it is now ready to showcase its beauty!
One night, I was having my coffee in the living room when there was a sudden gust of wind that blew through the door. Following next was an unexpected downpour and the atmosphere was then filled with a chilly sensation. It was perhaps out of worry that I decided to step out of my house to take a look at the pomegranate. And what I saw was it dancing in the strong wind, as if it was enjoying the sensation of the chilly rain!
My heart was filled with happiness and gratitude. I knew that the pomegranate has grown, so has my inner self.
Our inner self (or some may call it inner soul) is like a seed that needs love in order to truly grow. But along the journey of our life, we have been taught to look at the without and not the within. We are blinded by all the material stuffs and neglected our inner self.
As we pursue material stuffs such as money and status, we have forgotten to cleanse our inner self and let all the selfish thoughts, survival skills, dirty tricks to wrap our once pure heart with filthiness. When our hearts are filled with hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, despicabiliity, anger and competitiveness, we are in fact feeding our inner self with negativity.
As the saying that goes: you reap whatever you sow. And if we do not curb the growth of our negative seeds such as greed, the result is unimaginable. Just like another sarcastic remark that goes in the working world, when you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. So if we don’t even take care of our inner self with love, how do we expect them to protect us from all the downfalls in life?
Embracing myself with love is what I have learned in the past one year. Let my inner self learn how to slow down and appreciate things around me, especially in this very fast paced society. I shall not echo what others are saying without thinking through, I shall not blend with those who wants to climb to higher status through their mouths, but again, I am no one to judge who are they, for I am also learning not to be judgemental.
Buddhist Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, once said in his book: The seeds of negativity are always there, but very positive seeds also exist, such as the seeds of compassion, tolerance and love. These seeds are all there in the soil, but without rain, they cannot manifest. Our practice is to recognise the positive seeds and water the positive seeds. If you recognise the seed of compassion in yourself, you should make sure that it is watered several times every day.
This morning, as I was watering the pomegranate, I noticed that the biggest bud has finally begun to blosoom, and I knew that it is a result of my love, and an evident that I have also grown…