A very well known Scholar was taking a walk through the park. He was dressed in an expensive three-piece suit, bow tie, and tweed cap. There was a pensive look on his face, and he was unaware of the beauty around him. He was wrapped up in thoughts about the violence in current events and his plunging financial portfolio. Those thoughts gripped him with fear on many levels. His life seemed so meaningless. What could he do as one individual?
Suddenly, a Gardener, working in the park, caught his eye. The Gardener had just finished clearing away the undergrowth from around a large tree. He arranged the cuttings neatly to one side, and he was standing, studying the tree. The Scholar stood at a distance, watching him.
The Gardener put his hand gently on the tree trunk and slowly looked up and down its length. It was like he was comforting an old friend. The tree looked sick, and the Scholar thought he was preparing to cut it down. The Scholar breathed a deep sigh and felt sad for the tree. He said to himself, “I know how you feel.”
Then the Gardener surprised the Scholar by cutting away three large suckers at the base of the tree. He continued to prune away some small suckers growing on the side of the trunk. He stepped back and studied the tree one more time. It was obvious that he had a plan. He put some spike gear on his boots and around his legs. He threw a rope over a limb high up in the tree and began to climb. It was like watching a monkey swinging gracefully through the branches trimming a bit here and a bit there. The Scholar’s fascination kept him riveted to the spot.
When done, the Gardener virtually flew out of the tree, sliding down the rope. He took off his gear and began to coil the rope.
The Scholar walked over to him and said, “That was some performance!”
“Oh, I was just having fun,” the Gardener replied.
“Well that too. But I meant that you’re trying to save the tree.”
The Gardener continued to clean up, “It’s worth saving; don’t you think?”
“A life is a life,” the Scholar said philosophically.
“More than that, my friend,” the Gardener said kindly. “It has a living spirit in her, just like you and me. It wants to live a few hundred years longer.”
“What do you mean, it has a living spirit?”
The Gardener stopped working, took the Scholar by the arm, and walked him over to the trunk of the tree. “Put your hand here on the sunny side of the tree.” The Scholar did. “Can you feel that it is warm?” The Scholar nodded yes. “Now put your forehead on the shady side of the tree.” The Scholar does as directed. The Gardener continues, “It feels slightly cool, but take that coolness inside your body and think of nothing else.” The Gardener is silent for a few moments. “Soon you will feel the energy moving up through the tree. Listen to it.”
The Scholar waited another moment, and said, “Oh, my the ‘Great I Am’ is in her!” Then he put his arms around the tree.
“That’s right,” said the Gardener. “Ask it how it is feeling now? Not with words; from your heart.”
The Scholar listened with his heart. After a while, he let go of the tree, pulled back, and turned to the Gardener. “I could feel it talking inside me. It said that its sadness is gone, and it knows it is going to be alright now. It does have a living spirit, but the biggest surprise is that I do too.”
The Gardener laughed, “All it needed was a little breathing room and a haircut.”
The Scholar asked, “How long have you worked here? I’ve never seen you before.”
“I don’t work here. I heard that they were thinking of cutting her down this winter. So, I figured that I should give her a chance.”
“Well, I’m glad you did. Thank you, and the tree thanks you.” The Scholar shook his hand and turned and walked up the path. After several steeps a new awareness came over him. He told his brain to stop chattering at him, and he started to reflect. “What that Gardener did to that tree I need to do with my life.” He turned back toward the tree. The Gardener was gone, as were all of the clippings. The tree stood there proudly waving. That is when he heard an inner voice, “I’m here, welcome to your new Life!”
The Scholar made many return visits to meditate with the tree, and all his problems faded like a light wind passing through the leaves.
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