from a Dialogue With Ligia Dantes
It is amazing to see these roses as opened and as beautiful as they are, since roses do not do very well in this climate. It is too foggy, too humid at night; consequently, they get many diseases and little pests.
As we look at them, we can see that they are truly "opened up" to their true nature just the way that roses are supposed to be. We can see they are showing their essence for everyone to enjoy. However, if you look at the origin of this rose, as I turn it around for you to see, you can observe that these petals are shriveled up (showing the bottom of a rose). Especially these, can you see the back of them? (showing the first outward petals). Can you see those petals? Those are the original petals that were destroyed by some kind of disease, and they are now all coming out with brown at the edges. Nevertheless, the roses will still show you their true nature. Eventually as they continue to open up further, they will show you their inside, which is beautiful, perfect and not diseased.
These roses remind me of our conditioned minds, sometimes rather diseased, full of opinions, negative emotions, beliefs and always wanting to be right —not caring about others, being self centered. Of course, I am referring to all of the conditioning that allows us to survive on the planet in this particular civilization. Because this conditioning can be an obstacle to our loving nature, we need to examine this more thoroughly.
These roses reminded me this morning that this is how we start our lives quite often (pointing to the first petals of the rose) with either wilted or diseased conditioning —what we call dysfunctional relationships. Nevertheless, this is also how we are (pointing to an opened rose) like the center of each flower, beautiful and just perfect in nature —nature-perfect. Eventually these shriveled up petals are just in the background but they don't disturb the beauty of the true nature of the rose.
That is how we are; our conditioned minds do not have to disturb the true nature of humanness, love, and nature’s perfection. We just need to be able to be aware of how we all start with the shriveled up petals, our societal conditioning, so that the beautiful petals of our true nature can unfold and be loving, compassionate and of service to others.
We can say that our true nature in its entirety is like the whole rose, the aroma, the magnificent beauty of its total form, the splendor of color… shriveled petals, and all.
In this analogy our shriveled petals are our conditioning to our milieu. By this I mean, our acculturation to societal values and prejudices that are not based on our natural spirituality which is true love and service in action. When we as human beings care for one another, our true nature shines like the perfect natural petals of this rose (pointing to the one opened large with some shriveled up petals at the bottom). And, like the rose, when our conditioning (shriveled petals) is no longer affecting or directing us, we, like the rose, are of great service to humanity.
Roses are of service without even knowing that they are of service. When we experience the brilliant colors and as we inhale their perfume, it certainly makes us feel good. However, they are not there saying, "I am making you feel good." They don't take pride in being there for you. They are simply there. Of course, you are just that way also. You are "all there" when you are actually living your true nature; then, you are of service without taking pride or credit for what you offer to others. “Just being there,” you cannot help but be of service.
Unfortunately, it is difficult for people to be of service in the same way as the rose, living their love in their actions without being praised. They do not know how to be beautiful and just be there with the bright colors of their attitudes and the sweet aroma of loving actions. Pride is our shriveled diseased petals; but like this rose, it does not have to stop us from loving and doing selfless service that expresses our loving spiritual essence.
Conditioned mind can remain there in memory, just as it was at the beginning, to help us survive. These brownish petals protected the inside of the rose at the beginning. But if you notice, none of the other petals have the same disease. They are the true inner self of the rose, so-to-speak.
If we take a lesson from the rose in this way, we would be aware of our own conditioning and work through it, just like the rose works through its diseased petals. We would allow the beauty of our essence to unfold. Our focus would be on what our heart is asking rather than what our conditioned mind is saying —without trying to get rid of a conditioned mind that is just there as a beginning, and remembering that it has served a purpose.
Conditioning is important for survival. So you must have all of that in memory. And, you must have a good memory so you can remember where you put your things, and know where you left your car.
You need to remember where you work so that you can go there the next day. You need to know how to do your job to survive, so you will need to be conditioned to routinely do it. And, if your work is not good for you then you look for another job and train and condition to another one.
If you are conditioned to be in relationships that are hurtful to you, or you are conditioned to be in relationships that do not work, you let go of those relationships and get new ones without making anyone wrong. You just move on; the same as with a new job or a new career, or whatever. Memories of your conditioning will be your browned petals as you begin to unfold your true nature just as these roses.
So conditioned mind is not so bad. It is when your true nature does not unfold, when you are still shriveled up and worried and miserable and suffering unnecessarily, totally unnecessarily, when you carry guilt, when you carry resentments, it is then that you continue to be diseased. The shriveled up petals are the same as guilt and resentment. It does not do you any good to carry that all your life. Let's say that you did something when you were younger, you stole a car. Let's take that for example. You have very heavy conditioning that says, "Because you did this you are bad and you are going to go to hell and pay for the rest of your life ". But you're not aware of that heavy conditioning. You don't know it is there because you carry it unconsciously. You continue to punish yourself for the rest of your life. Now you are not allowing your true nature as a flower to unfold. You can only be that shriveled up little rose.
I have some roses that never opened. I do not have one to show you because they are now all opened. But I saw a couple of roses at the beginning of the season that were so diseased that they never opened. I just cut them off, bowed to them and said, "Thank you very much," and I put them in the ground to fertilize the rest of the roses.
When what is usually called "your true self", and I call “your true nature”, when this unfolds, you're living a very different life, a life of love, a life of service, and you find someplace where you can actively serve others.
Service is action, and also “just being there”. The roses' service is just being exactly as they are, giving their perfume for the enjoyment of everyone. However, being human, we have to have some activity, some activity that is in relationship with others. Our service is in action, as well as in being. Yes, just being is very important, just being peaceful within. But your actions have to match your "beingness" because you don't sit there like a rose forever.
Copyright, Ligia Dantes, 2003 - You are welcome to respond to this article. e-mail@overcenter