Like leaves on a maple tree...
When you become aware that you are not a leaf but the tree, something amazing happens in your life.

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Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul


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ike leaves on a maple tree, we come into this life, are here for a few days, and then are gone. Nobody remembers us, and nobody misses us, except maybe the gardener that rakes a few leaves into the compost pile.

We can learn a few things from leaves. In this case, living like a leaf is to believe we are separate, out on a limb by ourselves, and that we eventually have to die. Our immortality however, is in the whole, the big enchilada, which never dies.

Believing we are separate is to live just for personal profit and pleasure, no matter under what philosophical name we may call it, which means our real personality withers away. That's just the way the universe works.

What's the alternative to withering away like a leaf, feeling alone and dying? When you become aware that you are not a leaf but the tree, something amazing happens in your life: you are able to act spontaneously, almost effortlessly, for the good of all.

Here is the proof of your awareness that you are the tree and not just a leaf:

  1. Everywhere it will motivate you, everywhere you will instantly recognize what contribution you can make, how you can help, what you can give.
  2. You won't have to weigh the pros and cons of a situation.
  3. You won't need to check your email to know what to do next. You will know instinctively, intuitively, the needs of those around you.

Such needs might include very real and important things like food, shelter, clothing or water. But there are other needs that sometimes are not so easily identified. You see, even when the most pressing requirements for food or shelter have been satisfied, that's not enough for human beings. There remains a hunger for something more. We want to be somebody. We want to feel secure. We want to feel a part of the whole. We want to feel love.

Being aware of other people's needs, to live for others, also helps us feel less depressed by the natural changeability of life. The evening news won't affect your mood, nor the bugs that chewed on your marigolds. What's more, by knowing you are the tree, it will seem natural to change even long-established habits, to drop something that before would have given you pleasure, if it means the tree may flourish.

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