“People where you live, the little prince said, grow five thousand roses in one garden… Yet they don’t find what they’re looking for… And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose.”
As I was trying to decide what to write for this blog, this quote from the The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry come to mind. I read this book years ago when I was little, but there are some aspects of it which I only really appreciate now.
Have you ever really looked at a flower? Not a bunch or a garden of flower, just one individual flower.
In mindfulness meditation, there is a technique called meditation on a flower. For this, all you require is a bit of time and space with no distractions or interruptions and a flower. Sit yourself down and place the flower in front of you, and now really look at it.
If you take the time to do this for 5-10 minutes, you will start noticing little things which you were not even aware were there. You will become aware of how the petals are connected to each other; you will notice that the colour of these petals isn’t as uniform as you thought. The likelihood is, your mind will try and distract you and you will have the odd thought coming through your mind. Try and ignore them and stay with the flower, after a few moments, you will become more absorbed in the beauty of the flower and your mind will start calming down. You are now reaching a state where you are solely focusing on what is in front of you, and that is the essence of mindfulness.
This simple exercise can easily be done at home or out on a walk. If you don’t really fancy looking at a flower, you can choose to focus on a particular tree, leaf or rock. The object you look at doesn’t really matter, it is the action of really looking at it that is important.
We tend to feel the need for mindfulness at times of stress and sometimes we don’t really know what to do to help ourselves take some distance from that stress. If you practise mindfulness regularly, you are creating a habit of focus and calm in your mind that will be much easier to recapture when you are next in need of it. So next time, you are going for a walk or that you find yourself in front of flowers, take a couple of minutes to really see what is in front of you.