During my meditation in the park yesterday morning, I walked over to hang out with my favorite tree. I have always noticed the small branches sprouting out of its trunk. This time, however, it struck me as a good lesson for us humans to always keep growing.
This tree is two to three stories tall with a trunk over a foot in diameter. It also sports a large canopy of branches and leaves. It is well established and thriving. And yet new sprouts are springing up all over its trunk and branches. The tree is in a constant state of new growth.
What can we learn from this tree? If we are well established and have a strong foundation, we may be complacent that this is enough. The branches of our life seem to be doing just fine. With time, though, these branches can break off or not function as well. There may be times we can’t provide the constant nourishment they need to thrive.
New sprouting branches refresh the tree and keep it thriving. These sprouts arise on the trunk and on the branches. In the same way, new growth can arise in us as a completely new endeavor or skill or it can branch off from something already incorporated into our life. A few years ago, I sprouted a whole new branch by starting Taiko drumming lessons. I had not played an instrument before this. Now Taiko is a solid branch of my life and there are new sprouts constantly as I learn a new song. Mastering a new song is much more difficult for me than my teenage daughter but the song eventually becomes one of the many arms of my Taiko branch.
Trying new things, enjoying new experiences, and learning new skills or knowledge is not only fun, it also keeps us in good mental and physical health as we get older. It is vital in order to keep thriving. Just as the tree needs the nourishment taken in by the leaves, we need the energy we gain from the various aspects of our life. What sprouts can arise from the current branches of your life and what entirely new branches can you encourage?
Another lesson here is to go spend some time with a tree. You can receive some great insights.