Try to use all the natural light that comes to us from our earth. Green light is light from the sun, and not fluorescent bulbs. In fact, I’d even go so far to say that what a wonderful world it would be if we operated based on when our day was light — and our night was dark. Our body rhythms would be in tune with this natural course of living. Perhaps light is sending us a message of when we should work, engage with people, and when we should sleep, rest, rejuvenate.
During the Edo era in Japan (1603-1868), the only wood they’d use from the forest was if a branch had fallen from a tree. In the same way, we don’t pick fruit before it’s ripe.
We don’t wrench the immature tomato from the vine. When it is the right time, you’ll find it almost drops off naturally in your hand.
Perhaps then, the message for us in present-day is, don’t cut down the wood until the tree is ready to release its branch. Perhaps all the wood we need will fall naturally and offer itself to you. This will be right timing for the tree as well as your needs.
Is there an area you are pushing for, that is perhaps unripe? Perhaps it’s time to gently let it go. We can let right timing lead, delivering the gift to you and everyone, at its specially appointed time.
Let’s enjoy the gifts, events and happenstances which are given naturally to us.
Jainism is a group that believes we should leave barely a footprint on this earth. They believe in gentility, kindness, and care for every living creature. It’s even to the extent of not eating root vegetables, because pulling up the roots makes the plant die. Jains honor every living thing.
Founded in a similar time frame as Buddhism, Jainism primarily existed in Hindu parts of India. In the present day it is a small but powerful minority among the world’s religions, with some 4 million followers in India and growing communities elsewhere in the world. A few core beliefs of Jainism include that every living being has a soul; non-violence is the path to right thinking; attachment to possessions should be limited, and one’s life should be lived to be useful to others.
May we be gentle, respectful and observant of the preciousness of life in all its form.
We can live consciously and thoughtfully about how we use paper. When you write a note, could you also reuse it again, and use the other side? When you receive a card, is there a portion of it that’s not written on, that could be used for a casual note to a roommate, spouse or friend? Or perhaps you could even use it for a to-do list. When you receive a box of a recent book or item of clothing, you can save it for holiday gifts. Let’s think creatively about our trees…
There are so many things that are packaged within paper, and the waste can be enormous. I think about the time, manufacturing costs, the transport, and the packaging when I look at individual salt packets. My guess is, forty granules of salt are contained within a tiny salt packet. And we’ve got to enclose it with paper, and then put it in another big package to transport it. There are so many ways that we use paper that are not allowing us to be effective stewards of our environment.
There was an interesting write-up of editorial letters in the Chronicle the other day. In it, one might think people were against plastic bags, and they were. But they were also against paper bags. All of the letters pointed towards using canvas. And many of them even stated we should feel guilty for using trees to transport our lunches, groceries, or other sundries. We’re facing quite a revolution here in being thoughtful about how and when we use our natural resources.
We can live consciously and thoughtfully about how we use paper. When you write a note, could you also reuse it again, and use the other side? When you receive a card, is there a portion of it that’s not written on, that could be used for a casual note to a roommate, spouse or friend? Or perhaps you could even use it for a to-do list. When you receive a box containing a recent book or item of clothing, you can save it for holiday gifts. Let’s think creatively about our trees.
I remember my very astute four year old niece, when I took her to the restroom, after we had gotten brunch. With two young nephews waiting in the restaurant, age 8 and 10, and as the sole aunt caretaker, I hurriedly pulled out two paper towels and dried my hands. “Shame on you, Aunt Pamela. They teach us in school that that’s a tree. You’re not supposed to do that.” Lindsey was absolutely right.
What if every time you picked up, or used a piece of paper, you envisioned a beautiful evergreen, redwood, or eucalyptus tree? Would we then be so quick to crumple it up? Would you crumple up a cherry blossom tree?
In many emerging nations, children are starving and dying due to lack of clean water. As a “developed” nation, it certainly doesn’t seem that advanced for us to be getting water for free. Meanwhile, two million people in the developing world are dying every year because they can’t access clean water.
Maybe we won’t have water fountains in the future.
It doesn’t make sense. If there is a limited, precious resource, why should it flow freely to those who have the most access to it? And at the same time, be so costly to others who need it most?
I think we should have to buy our water, bottled or fountain. It’s a cherished, expensive and rare commodity. Quite soon, and even by certain nations, water already is the new diamond.
The diamonds which are jewels are high end commodities, which are optional. Yet water is not a “high-end commodity” that we can go without.
Our society is now realizing that the most prized and honored possessions in our world are things that we actually cannot possess… Water is used, captured again, recycled in nature, and used again. Unlike diamonds, it can’t fit in our jewelry box, where we take it out whenever we so desire. Its beauty rests in its necessary part of our day to day.
Its beauty rests in the continuation of life.
There are many images that come to mind when we think of Asia, from dragons to beautiful beaches, spanning varied cultures. One of my favorite views is that of the banyan tree, for it must be strongly grounded in the earth, which also allows its larger branches and leaves to provide overreaching shade.
It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to a new level of enlightenment. Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings. It is even used as a place for political meetings: recently in Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath the welcome atmosphere of the banyan tree. So, for much of Asia, spirituality, entrepreneurship, politics are taking place in the outdoors.
The banyan tree represents solidity, rootedness, and strength. At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome. It is a source of power, balanced with peace. It represents firmness, as well as welcome.
Is America’s Banyan Tree the Conference Room?
It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled, sterile conference rooms. Chairs are uniformly around the table. The walls are usually plastered with notices about the company’s achievements. Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. Gosh darn it, I can hear the executives say, in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.’
Yet what if we looked at doing all of our business, or even holding all of our meetings, under a banyan tree? This return to nature might help conversations flow more easily.
Perhaps this atmosphere would allow us to be more authentic. If we are surrounded by nature’s occasional stirring winds, visionary clouds floating across the sky, and brilliant beckoning sun, would we not also settle into a more authentic course of conversation? Could it lead to more natural, comfortable (and no less impactful, but rather moreso) solutions? Within this reframing context of nature, we can discuss our goals and hopes and plans and perhaps achieve even greater goals.
Here’s a thought… We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact. We supplant the flurried white board scrawls with more thoughtful listening. What a profound impact this has to have on any business relationship, business decision, and especially, with any personal matter.
Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree. A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, rooted and peaceful presence.
The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.” Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself. The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.