She caressed the delicate, bright coloured petals of the flower in her hand. Soaked in the gentleness, the flower smiled lightly, blessed the kind hearted soul for her affection.
”What bothers you, young child?” asked the flower, taking her by surprise. “Your affectionate touch does carry a strain of sadness that you are trying so hard to shield from me.”
To which she replied,”You, my fresh blossom, never lack in kindness. Tell me, do you understand this strange feeling of mine, which is even more puzzling because of its inexplicability?”
“My friend,” said the flower gently, “If speaking your heart out could relieve you of the burden that pains you so greatly, I am delighted at the very thought of being a sincere listener.”
The flower saw her face grow pale, drained of blood.
”Why do I feel so helpless when it comes to certain things?” she questioned, her eyes lowered and lost in the shadows of her long eyelashes.
Thus replied the flower swaying lightly:
“My dear child, your words flow like softest ripples down the brook. I shall refrain from making flawed assumptions. I know your difficulty in putting forth your trouble, yet, I urge you to try and speak up.”
“Kind flower,” she whispered and stayed quiet, like she was searching her soul for the right words. “I feel incomplete because I am unable to face truth. I am unable to relieve myself from the pain that torments me.”
At this the flower fell silent, lost in thought.
She drew comfort from that silence. “Flower, it’s a void, a shallowness that I experience.”
“Suffering, my child, is it!” was the flower’s erudite response.
“Yes, yes,” she whispered softly. “Why do I have to,” she sighed deeply, “suffer?”
The flower watched and listened, as her voice choked. “I cry and brood over fate. Why should I long for what’s not in my hands, despite having realised the futility of it?”
“My dear, I would call that a self imposed suffering,” said the flower.
“But, kind flower, what am I to do? Is it wrong to desire for something?”
The flower appeared calm and still, went ahead in a voice so crystal clear. “Lady, you are so child like,” It threw a radiant gaze and continued, “Realise that when a want arises, suffering finds its way.”
Her face appeared flushed. “But why on earth?” she questioned.
“Simply because achieving what you desire is influenced not just by you, but by a million factors that lie beyond your control. If all works fine, you get what you want, if they don’t, you suffer.” came the flower’s thought provoking response.
“Flower, do you mean that suffering is the direct consequence of desire? “
“Yes and No,” it said. “Yes, for the aforesaid reason and no, because suffering as a consequence, can still be averted. In simpler terms, as much as your control plays a part in achieving your desire, it plays a much bigger role in averting suffering.”
“You confuse me, my knowledgeable blossom,” she sighed.
The flower chuckled. “It simply means that most of the pain is self imposed. It means that the consequence is a matter of your choice.”
“Is that what you called self-imposed suffering?” she questioned in a tormented voice.
“Yes. Now that you give me an impression of having gained some understanding, I shall explain a little further,” said the flower and paused to throw a sideward glance to gather signs of approval.
“Very well,” it said, “The choice that I spoke about is what you intend to do at two levels. One is to avoid the root of all problems. You could choose to not desire for anything and lead a life of what the world calls a saint. The second is when you desire to possess something, but you prepare yourself to face the best and worst of it. Do you understand?”
“Ahem, yes, I guess so,” she said.
“I quite don’t like that trace of doubt in your voice,” the flower replied. “Let me take your case,” it said, trying to explain further, ”You said you cry and brood over something that you desired but could never achieve. Didn’t you?”
“Yes,” she mumbled.
The flower continued breathlessly, “Now dear, think about it. Didn’t life present you a big choice there? Wasn’t it you who chose to cry and brood over it?”
“Sweet friend, my sincere advice to you would be to not to lose the present, pining for what’s not going to land in your lap. May be you did deserve it, yet it didn’t happen, but should you let that come in the way of the present and the future? Ponder, child, ponder.”
She remained silent.
“There are two choices. You could burn yourself down to ashes or you could rise from them like a phoenix. The choice is absolutely yours.”
“But, flower, isn’t it easier said than done?”
“True, it isn’t easy to let go but, it isn’t impossible. Time and experience perfects an individual. You will learn.”
“You are indeed kind,” she smiled, “you made me feel much better.”
“Delighted,” said the flower, “Just a word more,” it said. “I have a lesson for you from my life. I laughed and thrilled myself when the sun’s golden rays touched down on me. I bloomed and smiled my widest when he was around. Today I lie in your hands, but I don’t regret the present, nor do I desire for what went by. Tomorrow, I will be a withered flower and day after, I would be gone. But, I am glad I made the present useful, by helping you,” said the flower and smiled.
Her eyes sparkled and she took the flower close to her lips and whispered, “I will try my best, I will, I promise.”
The flower kissed her gently on her cheek.