Writings on Daffodils

Originally posted on Sri ChinmoyInspiration Group

by Vasanti

when I read your post quite some time ago there were no daffodils in
sight here yet, due to the persistent cold. To me, much more than the
braver crocuses, which are already raising their heads everywhere to
drive away the winter gloom, daffodils are the great cheerful heralds
of true spring, irrespective of calendar, and I am eagerly waiting
for them to finally break out here – the almond and peach blossoms
and the magnolia mostly come a bit later, often we miss most of them,
being away in the middle of April.

Maybe in a few days, before leaving to New York, I will be able to
run along meadows and hillsides with stretches of daffodils here in
Heidelberg again – but the first tufts of daffodils this year greeted
us in Paris recently – on our morning run in the beautiful little
Parque de la Vilette and the next day on the green slopes in between
the stairs leading up to Sacrè Coeur.

My love of daffodils goes back to my first concentration exercises
about 25 years ago. Previously I had no liking for them at all – my
grandmother used to have plastic daffodils in her home, so any live
daffodil would just remind me of something lifeless, dusty and fake,
of a type of lifestyle (in German you would say “gutbürgerlich” –
a “good citizen” life style, which may sound what today we want to
be – a good citizen of the world that is -, but at that time the
connotation was different). Although I loved my grandmother and still
love vanilla ice cream which she often treated me to, I just didn’t
love fake daffodils. And live daffodils would inevitably be seen in
the light of my “fake” memory.

The interesting thing now is that when I started to practise
meditation and tried my first concentration exercises
(link to Sri Chinmoy Centre) the next best
thing to concentrating on a candle-light to me was concentrating on a
flower.

It happened to be spring time and I was a poor student, so I bought
the cheapest available flowers for my concentration exercise at home,
and they happened to be daffodils. In a spirit of true detachment,
trying to ignore the fact that I did not like them at all, I put them
in a vase at my mediation place and started my concentration
exercise. Focusing on one of them, throwing any disturbing thoughts
into the flower to be dissolved there, breathing into it and back
from the flower, breathing in its beauty and purity into my heart-
centre in the middle of the chest – a very simple exercise.

After a few minutes, the flower came alive. All associations and
connotations I had had in my mind, in my memory and in my feelings
just dissappeared and I perceived the flower as such – in its
mystical beauty, delicacy and purity, a wonder of life and harmony
and growth, the mystery of self-offering and much more, beyond words,
mere experience.
(The same kind of exercise can be done in nature with a mere blade of
grass, which also contains the mystery of the universe.)

This experience just taught me how regular concentration and, in an
even deeper way, meditation can lead us to discover life anew at
every moment, and – a very important aspect for a life of harmony in
this world – how it can help us overcome prejudiced opinions and
resulting negative actions. If we try to be aware, we will realise
how past memories and experiences are constantly restricting and
limiting us (or at least trying to do so) in the way we think, feel
and act – in regard to ourselves, other people and the world.

So daffodils for me have become a symbol of newness, inner freedom
and self-giving beauty.

Of course, as a google-addict I also searched the net briefly re
Wales and daffodils and learned something new: that the emblems of
Wales are actually leek AND daffodils, but the latter have
become “the more favoured emblem of late, …since some people find
that it makes a more attractive buttonhole on St. David’s day.”

Leek was acknowledged even by Shakespeare as a Welsh emblem in Henry
V and used to be an important part of the Welsh diet at some time in
the past. However, the traditional leek and potato soup still seems
to exist. (By the way, I love leek and potato soup!)

More on Wales and daffodils:

Rereding my post before posting it I just remembered the first
daffodils this year I actually saw in Pragya’s hotel room in Paris
before our runs. Another daffodil lover had bought them on the
market – not 5 or 10, but a bunch of at least 20 bright little
cheerful heads that just made your face and heart light up and smile
and smile.

Vasanti

PS: To add some of Sri Chinmoy’s words about flowers and newness,
here a link to the answer to to following question:

“Question: How do you have the same amount of inspiration every day?”