“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” said Shakespeare.
And he was right. The rose would continue to be what it is, regardless of what it was called.
The question is would we appreciate it’s beauty and fragrance as much?
It is not a trivial question. The extent to which we embrace, reject or overlook something is often dependent upon the ‘name’ we recognize it by.
My approach towards my house plants is minimalistic. I water them, clear away the dead leaves and that is about it. The rest of it is more of loving attention and a coherent heart field. I avoid pruning them and they grow naturally, as they will, in a kind of wild, random, yet beautiful way. So when I noticed a ‘weed’ coming up in one of the plants, I was confused. Removing such unplanned growths may be the norm. But I was struck by a thought.
What if I did not label the newcomer as a weed? Would I still be moving towards it removal? And who was I to decide that this plant was unwanted, ugly or in any way – one which did not deserve the same treatment as the others? So I left it alone. Silently apologizing to it for having judged it as not good enough. It seemed to grow in a spurt after that. Soon, a bud showed itself, and then a beautiful white flower appeared. One after the other, one at a time, a single flower blooms. Reminding me everyday to be thankful. For not having called it a weed.
I have no idea what this plant is – whether it is an ornamental plant or really falls in the ‘weed’ category. Now, it does not matter. But had I gone with the label of ‘weed’, and given in to all the mental associations and distinctions one tends to make with that label – it would not have blossomed.
It is not difficult to see that cultural identity, religious denomination, economic strata, qualifications, professional or vocational designations, relationship terms (friend, spouse, daughter, etc…) – all carry an inherent description that is limited to our past experience with the same term.
It may have nothing to do with the person in front of us.
Makes me wonder –
- What qualities do we disown in our self, because we haven’t seen ourselves as ‘roses”?
- To what extent do we suffer from feelings of inadequacy, because of being called out as ‘misfits’, ‘not normal’ , ‘not roses’, but ‘weeds’?
- Who all have we been judging or rejecting, because of a reflexive association with a label?
- Who have we failed to celebrate because they are not known as a ‘rose’?
We are so greatly influenced by the way we are introduced to someone, that we rarely stop and see them for who they are.
Consider this: “A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, …
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.”
~ From the Youtube video details, see here
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all make a conscious effort to see beyond the names?
To meet people as they are, in the present moment, without letting the labels get in the way?