Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mullein: Weed or Flower?

Some years ago, i noticed white mullein growing by the roadside near a defunct wildflower nursery. "An escapee," i thought. I gathered some seeds and sowed them in my nursery bed.

Mullein is a weed that often stands sentinel along the side of the road. Growing a single stalk 5 to 8 feet tall, it has a few small non-descript yellow flowers scattered over its fuzzy gray-green height.

White-flowered mullein is unusual; this is how a weed becomes a wildflower. When it blooms in early July, the stalk is covered with joyful 2-inch wide white flowers.

Now i have dozens of these mullein volunteering in my sunny beds. It's fascinating to notice over the years how some plants, which you might not necessarily choose, choose you. They like the soil, the sun, the microclimate--something.

We define our "self" by our likes and dislikes. Then something we don't feel any particular affinity for "likes" us. Hmmm. Do we like it (or them) back? Or do we ignore it (or them)?

This is a great opportunity to investigate pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral.
Notice how something pleasant becomes neutral after a few moments.
Notice how something neutral might become pleasant. (Or perhaps unpleasant?)
Notice how something unpleasant becomes neutral if you keep your attention on it long enough instead of just reacting with "Ee-yoo."

Notice how that "weed" in your garden becomes beautiful once you notice its good qualities.

1 comment:

  1. Good thoughts. I have never seen white mullein, but I love yellow mullein and pick the leaves, dry them and crumple them to use in the winter when I have a head cold. I burn them like sage, breathe in the smoke, and my stuffy nose clears!

    Perhaps I can use your meditation whilst looking at some unpleasant aspects of myself.