Ikebana is a Japanese meditation practice that depicts the symbols of the relationship between heaven, earth and man in flower arrangements. It is not merely sticking flowers in a vase, but it is meant to sooth and invites the arranger to “stay in the moment.”
It is an art form, just like painting or sculpture. There are rules of construction with three major forces at work. It’s not the amount of material used, but how it is used with negative space between elements being as important as the flowers themselves.
Even the toughest samurai, after doing battle, would arrange ikebana to end the day on the high note of meditative practice.
Our teacher told us that in past history, even the toughest samurai, after doing battle, would gather flowers, branches, grasses, moss, and seed pods and make an arrangement to end the day on the high note of meditative practice.
The retreat center where I’m staying has several well-tended gardens with lots of material. But the truth is, I don’t have a green thumb but am all thumbs. I cut my flowers too short and have even, on occasion, used transparent tape to hold arrangements together. (Yikes!!!)
My arrangement sketched above shows not heaven, earth and man, but cloudy skies, muddy fields and my troubled mind. It’s not horrible, but it’s not ikebana.
The photo shows what a good ikebana arrangement should look like. Sigh.
In a few weeks I’ll be back home and I will resume my regular longer posts. Until then, stick with me!
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