When Flower Arranging Becomes a Prayer
- By Kevin Kelly
- Published 07/24/2010
Nearly 40 years ago a friend, after living a year in Japan, relayed an amazing piece of information. In Japan she said, people considered Ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, a form of meditation. I had just become a professional floral designer following a stint in a Catholic seminary. The idea that flower arranging could bring together two life long passions, flowers and spirituality, was most intriguing.
More intriguing was the idea that if the people of Japan had discovered the link for themselves, then we in the West could also discover a link. So began a long time pursuit. In a career that now expands nearly four decades, the link has become more obvious but not in a religious way. The link is with the soul.
Soul needs no definition. Soul is known intuitively. Listen to popular uses of the word, “soulful gathering,” “soulful music,” “Dark night of the soul.” Without explanation each gives a sense of depth. So when talking about soul, we are talking about our inner depths.
When speaking of flower arranging as prayer it is in relationship to soul. The art of flower arranging takes one to the depths of his or her soul where one finds dreams, visions, hopes, feelings, intuitions, and imagination. This is where all art emanates from and where art returns us.
When I think of prayer I think of that practice, with or without words that takes us to a transcendent experience of life and of a higher power. It is not important what name one calls that power by. What is important is that the experience of reaching the transcendent takes us to the deeper realms of soul and lifts us to the higher realms of spirit. There we consciously encounter the great mystery of life.
So as one creates a flower arrangement as art, one is taken to the depths of soul where he or she, through the transcendent experience, touches the mystery. At that moment when one become conscious of touching the mystery through the art of flower arranging, flower arranging becomes prayer.
Read more about Flower arranging and soul in Letting the Lotus Bloom, the Expression of Soul through Flowers