What Flowers Must Come to an End

The earth was the colour of the sky; the hills, the green, ripening rice fields, the trees and the dry, sandy riverbed were the colour of the sky; every rock on the hills, the big boulders, were the clouds and they were the rocks. Heaven was the earth and the earth heaven; the setting sun had transformed everything. The sky was blazing fire, bursting in every streak of cloud, in every stone, in every blade of grass, in every grain of sand. The sky was ablaze with green, purple, violet, indigo, with the fury of flame. Over that hill it was a vast sweep of purple and gold; over the southern hills a burning delicate green and fading blues; to the east there was a counter sunset as splendid in cardinal red and burnt ochre, magenta and fading violet. The counter sunset was exploding in splendour as in the west; a few clouds had gathered themselves around the setting sun and they were pure, smokeless fire which would never die. The vastness of this fire and its intensity penetrated everything and entered the earth. The earth was the heavens and the heavens the earth. And everything was alive and bursting with colour and colour was god, not the god of man. The hills became transparent, every rock and boulder was without weight, floating in colour and the distant hills were blue, the blue of all the seas and the sky of every clime. The ripening rice fields were intense pink and green, a stretch of immediate attention. And the road that crossed the valley was purple and white, so alive that it was one of the rays that raced across the sky. You were of that light, burning, furious, exploding, without shadow, without root and word. And as the sun went further down, every colour became more violent, more intense and you were completely lost, past all recalling. It was an evening that had no memory.

Every thought and feeling must flower for them to live and die; flowering of everything in you, the ambition, the greed, the hate, the joy, the passion; in the flowering there is their death and freedom. It is only in freedom that anything can flourish, not in suppression, control and discipline; these only pervert, corrupt. Flowering and freedom are goodness and all virtue. To allow envy to flower is not easy; it is condemned or cherished but never given freedom. It is only in freedom the fact of envy reveals its colour, its shape, its depth, its peculiarities; if suppressed it will not reveal itself fully and freely. When it has shown itself completely, there is an ending of it only to reveal another fact, emptiness, loneliness, fear, and as each fact is allowed to flower, in freedom, in its entirety, the conflict between the observer and the observed ceases; there is no longer the censor but only observation, only seeing. Freedom can only be in completion not in repetition, suppression, obedience to a pattern of thought. There is completion only in flowering and dying; there is no flowering if there is no ending. What has continuity is thought in time. The flowering of thought is the ending of thought; for only in death is there the new. The new cannot be if there is no freedom from the known. Thought, the old, cannot bring into being the new; it must die for the new to be. What flowers must come to an end.

It was very dark; the stars were brilliant in a cloudless sky and the mountain air was cool and fresh. The headlights caught the tall cacti and they were polished silver; the morning dew was upon them and they shone; the little plants were bright with the dew and the headlights made the green sparkle and flash with a green that was not of the day. Every tree was silent, mysterious and dreaming and unapproachable. Orion and the Pleiades were setting among the dark hills; even the owls were far away and silent; except for the noise of the car, the country was asleep; only the nightjars, with red sparkling eyes, caught by the headlights, sitting on the road, stared at us and flutteringly flew away.

So early in the morning, the villages were asleep, and the few people on the road had wrapped themselves up, just showing their faces, and were walking wearily from one village to another. They looked as though they had been walking all night. A few were huddled around a blaze, throwing long shadows across the road. A dog was scratching itself in the middle of the road; it wouldn’t move, and the car had to go around it. Then suddenly, the morning star showed itself; it was easily as large as a saucer, astonishingly bright and seemed to hold the east in sway. As it climbed, Mercury appeared, just below her, pale and overpowering. There was a slight glow and far away was the beginning of dawn. The road curved in and out, hardly ever straight and trees on either side of the road held it from wandering off into the fields. There were large stretches of water, to be used for irrigation purposes in the summer when water would be scarce.

The birds were still asleep, except for one or two and as dawn came closer, they began to wake up, crows, vultures, pigeons and the innumerable small birds. We were climbing and went over a long wooded range; no wild animals crossed the road. And there were monkeys on the road now, a huge fellow, sitting under the large trunk of the tamarind; it never moved as we passed by though the others scampered off in every direction. There was a little one, it must have been a few days old, clinging to the belly of her mother who looked rather displeased with things.

Dawn was yielding to day and the lorries that crashed by had turned off their lights. And now the villages were awake, people sweeping their front steps and throwing dirt in the middle of the road; many dogs still fast asleep right in the middle of the road; they seemed to prefer the very centre of the road; lorries went around them, cars and people. Women were carrying water from the well, with little children following them. The sun was getting hot and glary, and the hills were harsh and there were fewer trees, and we were leaving the mountains and going towards the sea in a flat, open country; the air was moist and hot, and we were coming nearer the big, crowded, dirty city, and the hills were far behind.

The car was going fairly fast, and it was a good place to meditate. To be free of the word and not to give too much importance to it; to see that the word is not the thing and the thing is never the word; not to get caught in the overtones of the word and yet use words with care and understanding; to be sensitive to words and not to be weighed down by them; to break through the verbal barrier and to consider the fact; to avoid the poison of words and feel the beauty of them; to put away all identification with words and to examine them, for words are a trap and a snare. They are the symbols and not the real. The screen of words acts as a shelter for the lazy, the thoughtless and the deceiving mind. Slavery to words is the beginning of inaction which may appear to be action and a mind caught in symbols cannot go far. Every word, thought, shapes the mind and without understanding every thought, mind becomes a slave to words and sorrow begins. Conclusions and explanations do not end sorrow.

Meditation is not a means to an end; there is no end, no arrival; it is a movement in time and out of time. Every system or method binds thought to time but choiceless awareness of every thought and feeling, understanding their motives, their mechanism, allowing them to blossom is the beginning of meditation. When thought and feeling flourish and die, meditation is the movement beyond time. In this movement there is ecstasy; in complete emptiness there is love, and with love there is destruction and creation.