Welcome to the new home of Poems by Papyrous

The Way Of The Heart

  "Be Strong, Like The Plum Tree In Winter, But In Your heart Cultivate The Delicate beauty Of Plum Blossoms."

This wise saying advises us to behave in a certain way. In this respect, it falls into the philosophical category of Ethics, for Ethics is the study of how people should behave. It also involves us in the study of Aesthetics or beauty. Here we are first advised to be strong. We are then further advised as to which way we are to be strong. We are to be strong, "like the Plum Tree in winter." However, to be strong is not the only advice. We are also advised that we should, cultivate beauty in our hearts -- the delicate beauty of Plum Blossoms. Furthermore, we are advised to do both of these actions together, not one at a time or in succession.

Let us now look at the first advise, (to be strong), and ask the question why, followed by the question how. Why would we be strong? More particularly, why should we be strong like the Plum Tree in winter? What does the author mean by strong? Should we all join a gymnasium and take up weight lifting to build muscles? To search for the answer to this question, (Why be strong?), with justice, we must further ask why is the Plum Tree considered strong by the author of our wise saying. In other words, we must become familiar with the deeply inspiring area of knowledge called Plum Tree symbology. A manual of aesthetics and technique, written by Leslie Tseng-tseng, entitled Chinese Brush Painting In Four Seasons, will help us here.

"Flower of flowers for winter, the breath taking delicacy of the Plum Blossom is a striking contrast to the starkness of this season. Having the distinction of being the national flower of China, the Plum is a symbol of purity, strength, courage, and perseverance. The fragility of the flowers and the firmness of the branches are without equal. The beautiful blossoms emerge and burst into full bloom, unhindered by frost and snow. The Plum Blossom is admired for its fortitude and represents a person who has the ability to stand firmly against adversity. Its resistance to the cold of winter epitomizes the independent and indomitable Chinese Spirit. Each of the five petals represents a beneficence: longevity, happiness, health, prosperity, and the natural passing of life. As the emblem of winter, the Plum Blossom welcomes the beginning of each new year. Sending forth its pure, fresh blossoms to renew Nature's cycle and to foretell the return of spring."

Now that we have searched the Plum Tree symbology for the answer to our question why be strong, and have gained the background for a more intuitive impression of why the author of our wise saying chose the words, "Be strong, like the Plum Tree in winter ...", let us now raise the question how can we be strong like the Plum Tree in Winter? To justly search for this answer, we must first search out the reasons why a person is weak, and then search out how to overcome that weakness. Here the Agni Yoga book Heart (#6) can assist us in our search.

"Doubt is the destruction of quality. Doubt is the tomb of the heart. Doubt is the source of ugliness. Doubt must be mentioned in each talk, because where can we go without quality? What shall we understand without heart? What shall we attain without beauty?
"They will ask, why first Infinity, then Hierarchy, and only then heart? Why not the reverse? But first comes direction, then the connection, and then the means. One must not spoil this sacred recourse by doubt. Let us regard the quality of the pulse of a man in doubt and also at the hour of devoted striving. If doubt can alter the pulse and the emanations,how physically deteriorating will be its action upon the nervous system. Psychic energy is simply devoured by doubt.

"After doubt, let us recall treason itself, for who is closer to doubt than the traitor? But one can overcome that darkness only by adherence to Hierarchy, to the most inevitable, but lacking it there is darkness."

We are striving to understand the cause of weakness so that we can use that knowledge to overcome weakness and be strong like the Plum Tree in winter, which has the perseverance, strength, purity, and courage to expend some of its energy to blossom in the adversity of late winter as a signal to all those to whom its beauty foretells that spring will soon come. We have just explored some wisdom which indicates that our own doubts are the source of our weakness. It indicates that we are strong when we are filled with psychic energy. Since, "Doubt is a devourer of psychic energy", then we know what to overcome in order to raise ourselves from that degree of weakness which we may now be in, due to our doubts, to a state of strength which can put forth beauty in the midst of adversity.

It has also been written, quite accurately, that doubt is a stepping stone to further knowledge. How true this is since doubt devours our psychic energy and renders us less effective in life. We learn through this painful experience, the truth about doubt itself -- that doubt is the source of weakness. Some might say that doubt itself must teach most people this painful lesson. But the wise also learn from the mistakes of others as well as from experience and attunements with the higher knowledge through The Teacher Of Beauty in The Hierarchy of Light, (to whom this discourse is dedicated). It is said that a word to the wise is sufficient.

Now the question remains how to overcome doubt in order to be strong like the Plum Tree in winter. Must we now go about believing everything which is presented to us? Of course not, for believing everything would be an extreme lack of discernment, which only leads to pain. We do not have to doubt something in order to explore it. The truth is what exists, (dictionary definition). A true exploration of the unknown is the first duty of a real scientist, and this is done by accurate observation. This accurate observation leads to knowledge which is the basis for accurate discernment. So we see that believing everything is not the way to overcome the source of weakness which is doubt. Our advice from the Agni Yoga Heart book also informs us that one can overcome the darkness of doubt and its offspring treason only by adhering to The Hierarchy Of Light. Also we learn in Heart (#582) that,

"... the highest protection and ascent are comprised in the indivisibility of aspiration. Through the heart one can transport one's consciousness along the chain of Hierarchy, thus multiplying one's strength and becoming invulnerable..."

We on the Path of Beauty, which is The Path of the Heart, do not have to ask how to adhere to Hierarchy because we are familiar with the Law of Beauty, and aspire to its fullest use in our lives for the common good. Beauty leads to Joy. The relationship of Beauty to Hierarchy, we understand as the relationship between beauty and strength, since The Hierarchy of Light (which includes God) is the only stability in the universe, which brings us back to our wise saying.

"Be Strong, Like The Plum Tree In Winter,
But In Your Heart Cultivate The Delicate
Beauty Of Plum Blossoms."

Here we are advised to cultivate the delicate beauty of Plum Blossoms. This, my brothers and sisters, may very well be our author's way of sharing with us the law of beauty expressed in the metaphor of the Plum Tree. If we are intentionally cultivating beauty in our hearts, then we are not intentionally cultivating ugliness in our hearts. Since we are advised that doubt is not only the source of ugliness, but also the tomb of the heart, then we can be assured that thoughts of beauty will be healthy and thus strengthening to the heart. My brothers and sisters, let us now raise the question how do we cultivate the delicate beauty of Plum Blossoms in our heart? We do this first by understanding the value of beauty and the problem of ugliness. We, on The Path of Beauty, through our understanding of the Law of Beauty, know the value of beauty, and now we understand the problem of ugliness. since, "Ugliness is the child of doubt, and doubt is the tomb of the heart". Therefore we have a basis for discernment of what kind of thoughts to best let our minds dwell on. If we catch ourselves thinking ugly, disharmonious thoughts, or thoughts of doubt, then we will understand their diminishing value with respect to our own psychic energy, and will immediately invoke the Law of Beauty in a joyful transmutation to maintain our strength, for who knows how many, visible and invisible, depend on us to have our strength to bloom at will in the midst of adversity.

So we see that our author, without the benefit of being allowed a long discourse explaining the Law of Beauty, imparts the Law of Beauty in the most efficient way known, which is by the way of metaphor. In this metaphor we find the key to the hearts of all good people, who, in their own way, are always open to the delight which the combination of wisdom, strength, and beauty provide. Now my brothers and sisters, let us raise the question what will be the reward or result for us for not only following, but attaining the strength and beauty of this poetic wisdom? What will be the effect upon us if indeed we are strong, like the Plum Tree in winter, and if we do, in fact, cultivate the delicate beauty of Plum Blossoms in our hearts? Another glimpse at the Agni Yoga Heart book (#596) will assist us here. This time the Teacher of Beauty in The Hierarchy of Light is summarizing the essential points of the heart book itself.

"The chief requisite for the application of the heart's energy will be an understanding that physical effort is unnecessary. Also by command of the brain and will, the physical nerve centers act, but the sending by the heart is accomplished without outer tension. The heart can act only when spiritually liberated from physical tensions. Let us not forget that the Western school usually follows the Path of the Brain, whereas the East, where the foundation is not yet lost, knows, as formerly, that the power is contained in the heart. Although healing through the heart predicates the touch of the hand, it is neither the hands nor the eyes, but the emanations of the heart that give help. Distance is of no significance through the heart, whereas a sending by the brain must endure barriers of various currents. The exercise of the command of the heart demands the least effort and adjustment. Pure thinking, constancy, benevolence, bring the heart energy into action. Let the Karmic merits increase the refinement of the heart, but each striving to Hierarchy opens the heart according to one's strength. One must firmly remember about the only path of salvation through the heart. The affirmation of the law of the heart has traversed the entire history of Humanity. It can be observed how within a few centuries people turn again toward the one path."  

More Essays