The second of the ten virtues of Ikebana is “selfless mind”. When we face our flowers, we are free from any concerns and we can clear our minds.
The first goal of Zen meditation is to achieve such a clear mind, free from the chattering self. This first step is often the hardest for any student of meditation. But with the help of the natural elements in their arrangements, many Ikebana students come to experience this state of mind almost without realising it.
However, the important thing is not try to understand such a meditative effect of flower but to actually experience it. If you try making some of the simple arrangements I introduce in this series, you may experience the effect instantly. On the other hand, it may take for a while for you to experience it. As for me, it took almost 6 months to experience that for the first time. Actually, learning Ikebana was initially a rather frustrating experience for me.
Even if you can not experience the clearing of your mind now, don’t give up Ikebana too soon. Surely you will experience it sometime in the near future. Then, Ikebana will be an important part of your life. Actually, many people get addicted to flowers, which is much better that getting addicted to drugs or gambling. You would never break up your family through Ikebana.
It would be nice to have many flower addicts, who can appreciate the essence of traditional Japanese culture.
To create this work I stuck branches of mahonia into a glass container. Then I inserted hydrangea stems between the branches. The distinctive features of the two materials create an interesting effect.