Flowering Plum

By Nel van Weijdom Claterbos

In silent beauty a plum tree stood in bloom at the edge of a meadow. Under it I clearly felt the presence of a living being expressing itself through this white splendor. What intelligence led up to this, devised the pattern of these millions of cells, each with its function in calyxes, petals, stamens, pistils? And who directs the highly complex network of channels for the sap? In short, what being governs this tree-universe? It fulfills its destiny, completes its annual cycle of growth here in this quiet place, a living, growing being, inhabitant of this earth just like me.

I too have charge of a "universe," my own mysterious body, which also houses an indwelling intelligence. What intelligence rules this body? The intelligence I call "I" has little knowledge of it; it feeds, clothes, and protects it, but the internal operations of the body are performed more or less without my knowledge, automatically. But whatever we do automatically must first have been learned consciously. As humanity has existed for millions of years -- and I as part of it -- there has been time enough to learn to build and control this wonderfully functioning organism, but such long-term planning must have emanated from an intelligence far above my personal I-consciousness. And this superintelligence, foreseeing, stimulating, and causing developments to run according to an unimaginably grand design, must have some time been built into our being.

And so here we are with our body -- a marvelous instrument -- at our disposal! To use for what? What may be the divine purpose behind this phase of our existence?

If man is spirit and soul as well as body, may we not be exploring the whole forcefield of the soul under the guidance of our spirit -- a ray of the divine -- using our body as its earthly instrument? Are we perhaps learning to become at last the master of this field, so that at the end of this development our human soul will have become a willing and transparent instrument of our spirit? We may see the territory of the soul as a bipolar forcefield, the soul itself as a two-poled magnet, and our task for now to learn to overcome the attraction of the matter-pole of this field by strengthening the pull of the spiritual pole and by invoking the powers of the divine source of our being. The more our soul identifies with the spiritual pole within us, the more the matter-directed one will lose its attraction. This means that the multifarious forms of selfishness no longer will tempt us, as living in the strength of our spiritual-divine powers is far more fascinating. We can choose to live in the sunshine instead of the chilly-dark shadow. Then our spiritual-human propensities will flower.

Standing under that beautifully blossoming plum tree I wonder when we, by bringing forth beauty from the depths of our being, in our turn will delight the gods.

  • (From Sunrise magazine, March 1979. Copyright © 1979 by Theosophical University Press.)

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