The Resiliency of Scattered Seeds
The stunning super-bloom in Southern California is an epic reminder of the tenacity and resilience of seeds. These little rocks live for months on end, scorched by heat, corroded by avian stomach acid, and chewed by pests.
A plant can only be born when the seed dies.
Some of us are like those seeds. We have been scattered across the community by forces beyond our control, surviving harsh conditions of poverty, rejection, isolation, and abandonment. We are trampled and exploited those we meet, chewed up and spit out by the world, dating apps, bankruptcy, corporate America, workplace hierarchies, or our own failures; we are exploited by sociopaths who wish to devour what little time, energy, and resources we have remaining; we are ignored, passed over, unrecognized, abandoned and inadvertently forgotten.
Death and Transformation
The rains come, and the deluge which threatens drowning cracks open a billion hidden seeds, and something beautiful happens. They die, they cease to live as seeds. Their former identity is left behind, a husk, and weakly, vulnerably, a delicate sprout emerges hoping for something beyond surviving suffering. A divine spark sends roots into the earth and the hidden potential of a flower, a purpose, meaning, and beauty, emerges from the mud.
In sterquiliniis invenitur – in filth it shall be found. ~ C. Jung
The pattern of our lives mirrors that seed. We are the same. We often survive without point to suffering, but when opportunity comes, when the time is right and our season of survival is over, when we’re about to drown or when our efforts are ready to bear fruit, we unmake ourselves. We break our walls and limitations, we open, and we cease to be what we were formerly, leaving behind our shell, husk, false-selves, accusations, enemies, accusers, scars, and pains. Feebly, we transform through vulnerable and small actions, realizing our potential and growing through new efforts to connect with a world bigger than ourselves, a world where we feed off the deluge and blazing sun. We breathe in life, hope, meaning, and purpose as we drink deeply from the significance ahead of us, the purpose of being, good relationships, meaningful work, contributions to our peers, the choices we own, the words we speak, and the actions we take.
But only if resilience dies – transforms – to vulnerability.
Refusal to Let Go of the Past
Whoever seeks to save his life, will lose it. ~ Jesus
What if we choose to reject the death of transformation and instead seek to save and preserve ourselves, status, and possessions? We will never begin the process of becoming. This is the vicious cycle of of being owned by the trauma – the scorching sun and dry desert heat – which kept us a seed. It is possession by a false belief. Whether by fear or arrogance, this seed never sprouts and is, essentially, dead. This is Sméagol, Hansel and Gretel‘s mother, and the servant who buried his talent. It is Gaston, Ebeneezer Scrooge, Javert, and Captain Ahab.
Bring forth what is within you, and it will save you. Lose your life and you will find it. ~ Jesus
This simple concept is echoed again and again and again and again throughout reality beyond the seed. It is the surrendering of resistant, resilient walls to destruction and reorganization through vulnerable openness. It is chemical reactions, sex, cocoons, raising children, larva to beetles, dynamite, the wrecking ball, release of orgasm, overcoming trauma, clouds to rain, construction, and self-assertiveness. It is the patterned requirement of release to disorganization for reassembly into something greater, the joining of separate entities into a larger whole or vice versa, the recycling of material through destruction then reformation, and the disintegration of neural connections to form the greater conceptual understanding we call “epiphany!”
Our psyche, our being is the same. It is the transformation from boy to man and girl to woman; the collapse of the prince/princess into the fool, destruction/exile, and re-emergence as the wise king or queen. It is the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar, Frodo’s wearing of the One Ring, and Thor’s loss of sight to find his purpose and therefore power. It is the death of Jesus prior to his ascendance and his starvation in the desert prior to his miracles. It is King David’s insanity in the desert after fleeing Saul. It is Aslan’s death on the stone table and each of the four children’s transformation to warriors. It is East of Eden’s timshel and Ghost in the Shell’s integration to the neural net. It is Edward and Alphonse Elric‘s descent into hell, and Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn’s bravery. It is Jean Valjean.
These heroes must first become vulnerable, collapsed fools subjected to chaos before becoming anything more, anything capable of replicating, building, and creating goodness.
What does this knowledge require of us?
It requires changing our beliefs. We must believe that the death of current behaviors is the beginning of all good things, and that the bravery to pull a divine spark of vulnerable intent from within our hearts is the sprout which can become a new identity of great value – whether a business, profession, spouse, parent, lover, supporter, donor, mentor, advocate, or hero.