Veronicastrum is blooming now. It's one of the late summer plants that add color and interest to the garden when most other summer flowers are fading.
Its spikes of white racemes point heavenward, but i am always fascinated by the whorl of 5 leaves around the stem.
This 5-pointed star of leaves reminds me of the 5 precepts--the guiding star of my daily thoughts, words, and deeds.
The first precept is to do no harm--to anyone or to any being.
The second precept is to refrain from taking that which is not offered. Yes, that means not stealing, but it is also a more nuanced guidance.
The third precept is to refrain from sexual and sensual misconduct. This instruction too can be deepened to refraining from flirting, and thereby acting as a trustworthy person.
The fourth precept is to speak truthfully and helpfully--gently and straightforwardly.
And finally, keeping the mind clear, which is no small task nowadays.
I take these precepts every morning to remind myself to act honorably in the world. And what do you know? When the mind isn't bothered by little, tiny misconducts, the mind settles easily into meditation and flowers.