Written by Jeremiah Goodman
Far from home, I find myself wandering among the cherry blossoms here in Japan. As I walk among these living teachers of repose, I am reminded of a verse in the Tao Te Ching that says “To find your own nature, return to nature.” I am told that the people of Japan wait all year for the blossoms to unfold and share their ancient secrets. With each step I slowly soak in the fragrance of each petal, finding myself being embraced by a force that is bigger than me and yet is me. Being human we live out a great paradox that each of us are living our way to death. That we all are partaking in the same journey of return. The cherry blossoms last only a few weeks, but in that short time they bring together the heart and spirit of an entire nation. We like the cherry blossom’s are a mere flash in the cycle of natures creation. I wonder how we can embody the grace and sacredness that these gentle trees are sharing with us.
For most of us are afraid to share what lives within us, scared of our own color or that our own fragrance may not be enough. And when we deny what lives within us and try to stop the unfolding that yearns to be expressed, we suffer. And to suffer is to live a life of fear. But when we acknowledge that we are all shades of the Oneness of life that is flowering itself into divine conception, then we are free to express our uniqueness with its own fragrance and color, offering the world the beauty of our potential.
And so I find myself beginning to ask how do I want to die? How do I want to shed my petals of purpose? What are the colors that my soul is needing to release, and how can I share the beauty of who and what I am with those around me. And so these silent sages of hue and color gently nudge me into a quiet remembering. A remembering that they do not dwell in the past nor strive to be somewhere in the future. Unattached to the results of their destiny, they are simply fulfilling the role that nature has entrusted to them, carry out in the stillness of being what they are. And the more that I find myself leaning into their silent melody of color, I myself start forgetting what I have to do, and what I am supposed to be, and begin to slip into the present moment of what I am, detached from outcome, and aligned with the harmony of surrender.
There is a saying in Japan, Ichi go ichi e, One moment, one encounter. Meaning that there will never be another moment like this, and to engage each moment with the freshness of a child discovering the beauty and truth that is wrapped in each moment. This I believe is the key to living authentically. When we can engage each moment with the freshness and knowing that this moment, like the blossom will never happen again in the same way, we can then allow each moment to rearrange our hearts and shape us into deeper, more compassionate beings of expression. For the reflection of awe and beauty that we see in each sakura is really just our own radiant reflection shining back to us.