PEP Workshop 8: CHOICE Article
Trees In The Garden of Life by Prem Rawat
THIS IS A METAPHOR, but it's true. When we come into this world, we're given seeds, and the question is: What will we do with these seeds? And what are these seeds?
There is a seed of anger, but there is also a seed of kindness. There is a seed of love and a seed of understanding. And there is a seed of doubt and a seed of confusion. And whatever seed you have sown in your garden of life ultimately determines the tree you're going to sit under. How restful it will be depends on what kind of seed you have sown.
Every seed has something that it offers. When it is sown, and it grows and becomes a tree, it will have very particular characteristics that you may or may not like.
THE TREE OF ANGER
It is not only a question of sowing the seeds, but also nurturing them, watering them, protecting them, taking care of them so that they grow.
Most of us have sown the seed of anger. There seems to be no hesitation to go near the Anger Tree, but we don't like the droppings from this tree. So you promise yourself you will never go near this tree again. But either you forget or you have become so used to living unconsciously, that there is no hesitation to go right back to that tree and get its sap all over you again. It's disgusting, and sometimes this sap is so nasty that it can take a lifetime to get rid of it. Two people love each other, and then each one in turn visits their own little Anger Tree, and then it's, "I hate you. I wish you were never born."
So, that is a good example of a seed and a tree. If you planted a seed and nurtured it, there will be a tree. If you want to know what you have been nurturing, just open the window and look in your garden and see the trees that are there.
THE TREE OF DOUBT
People plant the seed of doubt: "Is it really going to happen?" The tree of doubt comes. It is also disgusting, because dust comes off of it that gets all over the place, and it takes what could be beautiful and turns it into nothing.
In life, one of the biggest lessons you have to learn - and this is going to sound funny since we're talking about doubt - is that you have to give every single new day the benefit of the doubt. This is a positive doubt. Negative doubt is, "Oh, my God. Something is wrong."
The nature of the tree of doubt is that it doubts everything. It doubts your ability to understand your experience, your life. All because a seed was sown - a seed of doubt.
ME AND MY SHADOW
If you look in your garden, you may not see a tree of understanding. So you might say, "Hmm. Which tree is that?" But that is because that seed never got sown. But the beautiful thing is, no matter when you sow these seeds, they will sprout. It's never too late.
But what is the tree of understanding? We are taught to believe, to "take a leap of faith." But you don't have to do that. It could be very risky. Instead of just believing, you can actually understand what it means to be alive.
You might think, "I know what it means to be alive." No, you don't. You associate your life with your job, with the things that happen around you. That is not your life.
There is a big difference between your shadow and you, is there not? Yes, you have a shadow, but you are not your shadow. This is the distinction you have to remember. Some things exist because you exist, but they are not your existence. They may appear and disappear, but you will still be.
The hub is your existence. Your life. Your understanding. Your steps, your journey. Your elation and the process of filling your heart with utter and total contentment.
SATISFIED OR CONTENT?
Do you want to be satisfied? Or content? Which one? You can learn to be satisfied, but contentment comes naturally.
Contentment is a feeling that emanates from within you - from your basic core. It is not the same as being able to say, "I don't need anything anymore." That is being satisfied.
Somebody asks you, "Are you satisfied?" You can say, "Yes. I have a good job. I have a good family. I have a good car. I have great friends. And even my pets listen to me. So I must be satisfied." Ah. But are you content? Did you sow the seed of contentment?
THE SEED OF LOVE
Did you sow the seed of love? I'm not talking about lust. I know you have sown that. Those are among the first ones that get sown in your life. Anger begins early. Frustration, early. Lust? Early - or semi-early.
Love is different. What is the difference between a butterfly and a kite? Both fly. A kite is tethered to the kite string. Without that string, it will falter and fall.
A butterfly, on the other hand, is not tethered to a string, and it flies. And, if you were to tie it to a kite string, it would falter and fall. Love is like a butterfly. Lust is like a kite. Big difference between the two.
Love dances in the heart of the one who loves. Love not only makes the one who feels it feel good, but all those who are around also begin to feel it. There's a saying: "The world loves a lover."
Because that is how love is.
SEEDS OF UNCONSCIOUSNESS
People look for reasons for everything. And the idea of karma becomes really popular with people who are suffering. "Why is this happening to me? Must be my karma, som ething I did in a past lifetime." It wouldn't have anything to do with what you have chosen to do in this life, would it? All the unconsciousness that you bred? If your job is to milk venom from a king cobra, don't be too surprised if one day the cobra bites you. That is its nature. Maybe the cobra is agitated that day. Maybe he knows what you're going to do, and he doesn't really want to donate his venom. Maybe the last time you did it, you squeezed his head a little too hard, and he's mad at you. Maybe he thinks you're bringing food. Who knows?
We breed unconsciousness, and then we wonder what happens to us in our life. It cannot be. Look again at those seeds you have been given and make some simple decisions. Especially if you look in your heart and find that a few trees are missing that you think should've been there, that you assumed were there. No problem. It's never too late. Seeds are in hand; sow them. Take care of them.
Nurture kindness in your life, and you will be rewarded with the gift of kindness. Sow the seed of love, and you will be rewarded with that most incredible feeling of love dancing in your heart. Sow the seed of understanding, and you will be rewarded with understanding. Sow the seed of clarity, and you will be rewarded with clarity.
Then in this life, every day, a tribute of gratitude can be paid. Right now, you don't have time. You are too busy cleaning the sap from the Anger Tree, the Misunderstanding Tree, the Hate Tree.
However it is, do not sow seeds of unconsciousness anymore. Really nasty stuff. Stinks. Sow consciousness, and the reward will be a simple and beautiful reality.
Enjoy this life, because that's one thing you can do with it. And it's good. It's all very good. But not through the eyes of doubt, not through the eyes of anger, not through the eyes of hate. I'm not saying you should love everyone and walk around saying, "I love you, I love you, I love you." That's not what I am talking about.
The tree of love is not planted in your neighbor's garden. Don't even try going to your neighbor's garden to plant that tree. The tree of love is planted in your garden. And why should you plant it? Maybe you think you should become kind so that other people will be kind to you. That's not the reason why you should be kind.
To feel kindness. To feel true love. To understand what it is like not to be in doubt. To understand that there is a place where there are answers - this is something you do for you, not for other people.
Then, of course, some people say, "Isn't that selfish?" Is it? When I understand something, am I robbing somebody else of that understanding? Is there only a limited number of understandings, so that if I get one, somebody else won't get it? If that is how it is, then it is selfish, and you shouldn't understand something, because somebody else might need that understanding more than you do.
But that is not how it is. When you understand something, you're not depriving anybody of that understanding. When you receive an answer, you do not deprive anybody of that answer. The other person can receive it, too. That is what is so beautiful. It is not at somebody else's expense; it is just about you. Your journey, your existence. Your heart, your contentment. Your life. And you are not depriving anybody of anything by taking as much as you can.
Do whatever you have to do in your life. But do this, too: sow the seeds that you want to sow. Nurture them. Garner them. Help them grow. And then you will be able to enjoy the trees in your garden of life.