"Sen no Rikyu (1522-91), the famous tea master, is said to have advised that flowers should be arranged just as they grow in the fields. 'Yes, but...,' is my hesitant reply. Easy as it may sound, this advice is terribly difficult to follow. In fact, it belongs to the realm of the enlightened: ordinary people cannot even see the fields properly...Besides, perceptions differ...
"Rikyu's advice can be paraphrased as a plea to be as natural and spontaneous as possible. The implication is heavy that one should avoid the unnatural, overly technical, and artificial approach of so many people who practise flower arranging. Even in Rikyu's day, then, many people must have either ignored nature or failed to understand its beauty, composing arrangements of such clumsy inspiration that Rikyu finally could take no more and issued this 'warning.'
"To return to the field-even if it could be comprehended, its spirit is another matter. The form of things can be grasped with intellect; but intelligence alone does not suffice to make things yield their spirit. The only way is to possess, oneself, a spirit capable of doing so.
"Riku's advice is not something one can undertake to accomplish in a moment. One cannot simply gaze at a field in polite admiration. One has to cast oneself down before it body and spirit, and give oneself over to it entirely. Only then will it reveal its beauty..."