Goldenseal is a minimalist plant. In the spring, its solitary leaf emerges from the soil and unfurls, hidden in the shade. From the center palm of the leaf, a single, white flower blooms.
The flower withers into a red jewel of a fruit in which many seeds are buried.
Besides loving the plant for its medicinal qualities, it also reminds me of a singleness of mind, heart, and spirit. Everything is aimed at producing fruit with the least amount of frivolity. It is a simplicity that is graceful and elegant.
I long for that same singleness of heart, mind, and spirit forever aimed at appreciating the the greatest good, deepest truth, and most profound beauty. What we love in others, we are often challenged to find and love in ourselves. I desire simplicity in the midst of a complicated, modern life. Sometimes the best I can do is to sit in the shade with the Goldenseal…and wonder.
“What we have to be is what we are.” – Thomas Merton
Merton, T., & Shannon, W. H. (1985). The hidden ground of love: The letters of Thomas Merton on religious experience and social concerns. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux.