The Blossoming of the Rose
The flower has been regarded and used as a symbol of the Soul, of the spiritual Self, of Divinity in both the East and the West. China adopted the image of the ‘Golden Flower’, while India and Tibet adopted the Lotus which has its roots in the earth, its stem in the water and its petals in the air, where they open under the rays of the sun. In Persia and Europe the rose has been extensively used. Examples are to be found in the Roman de la Rose of the Troubadours, the mystical rose exquisitely described by Dante in Paradise (Canto XXIII) and the rose at the centre of the cross that forms the symbol of some religious orders. Usually, it has been the already open flower that has served as a symbol of the Spirit, and although this is a static representation, its visualisation can be very stimulating and evocative.
But even more effective in stimulating psychospiritual processes is the dynamic visualisation of a flower, that is, of its transition and development from the closed bud to the fully open bloom. It is the foundation of one of the most effective methods of psychosynthesis and forms the basis of the following meditation.
(From Roberto Assagioli: Psychosynthesis: A Manual of Principles & Techniques and Institute of Psychosynthesis Training Manual, Vol 2: The Journey of the Soul.)
- Sit quietly and comfortably. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax your body.
- Imagine a rosebush, with many flowers and buds……. Now turn your attention to one of the buds. The bud is still enclosed in its green leaves, or sepals, but at the very top a rose-coloured point can be seen. Focus on this image, holding it in the centre of your awareness.
- Now, in a slow movement, the sepals start to separate, turning their points outwards and revealing the rose-coloured petals, which are still closed…… The sepals continue to open until you can see the whole bud.
- Next the petals also begin to unfold, slowly separating…… until a fragrant, fully opened rose is seen…. At this stage try to smell the perfume of the rose with its characteristic and unmistakable scent.
- Now imagine that a ray of sunlight shines on the rose, giving it light and warmth…… Take a few moments to experience the sunlit rose.
- Look at the very centre of the rose. You will see appearing there the face of a wise person, full of understanding and love for you.
- Talk about whatever is important in your life now. Feel free to ask questions about what is meaningful to you: life issues, direction or choices you may need to make. Take the time you need to communicate with the sage in this way.If you like, you can pause at this point and write down what happened, amplifying and evaluating further whatever insights were gained.
- Now, identify yourself with the rose: imagine that you become the rose, or that you take the whole flower inside of yourself…… Be aware that the rose – and the wise person – are always within you and that you can get in touch with them and draw on their qualities whenever you chose….. Symbolically, you are the flower, this rose. The same life that animates the universe and has created the rose is enabling you to awaken and develop your innermost being and all that radiates from it.
- Now, imagine that you become the whole rosebush…. Be aware that you are firmly planted in the earth, drawing nourishment from it…… Your leaves and flowers are growing upward, nourished by the energy and warmth of the sun’s light.
- Become aware of other rosebushes, other plants and trees – all animated by the same life energy, all part of the same planet, of the greater whole. Take some time to experience this…. Then, whenever you like, open your eyes.
- You may want to write about what happened, paying special attention to your dialogue with the sage, and to any insights that the exercise brought you.