Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bonsai Soul

I have begun to understand the soul as much like a bonsai's higher self, God within as it were, as a sort of bonsai artist. I have learned that bonsai artistry is a lifelong clipping and shaping, watering and monitoring--light and soil and air. Bonsai tree growing, then, involves all of the elements, even fire in that it is from the belly of the artist that the flame of passion arises and from that fire that each intention lifts itself and takes the shape of action: pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation and grafting.

The tree of the soul grows from source material--a cutting or perhaps a seedling--not from a genetically dwarfed or altered tree but rather from the real deal. The regular stock and seed of the full-sized Tree in all its glory. Source material indeed.

The purpose of bonsai is twofold: contemplation (for the viewer) and the mindful exercise of effort and energy (for the grower). I realize then, that each action I take in the effort toward understanding, nurturing and directing the growth of my soul is another way I attend to that tree, a perfectly miniature version of its Source.

I therefore know each individual as such an artist and each soul as the thing that grows as a result of  perfect intent. Left to its own devices it would become unruly, grow beyond its bounds, or else diminish to the point of disease or even perishing.

I consider the implications of this and decide that I can only be a contemplative viewer of the bonsais that surround me. As for my own bonsai tree, I must attend to it minutely, each limb, each tiny leaf a reflection of my care and the way I hope to grow it. I must love it up, the way I am loving up my children. And I must trust in the power of my love to make it worthy, finally, of its Source, of being a sliver of that light in this world. An island of serenity in this life.

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