We were driving down the highway last weekend when I glanced out the car window. In the blink of an eye I saw a most beautiful tree standing alone in a field. Now that’s a metaphor for life, I thought, maturity and wholeness achieved by standing alone and detached, made gloriously strong by having taken full responsibility for self.
The image stayed with me. I just could not get that stunning tree out of my mind. It stood there so regally, its branches fully extended, its symmetry unique, its solitude firmly established. It needed nothing except the earth to plant itself in, the sun to nurture it, the seasons and weather patterns to test it and provide it with all that it needed in order to grow. It did not hold back because there was nothing around it holding it back. Its own spirit was fully in charge.
Wow, that’s how we should all be, I thought. I contemplated my children and all the children in the world, struggling to become independent, to shed themselves of their fears and make their way into the world. I knew then that our greatest gift to our children, and to anyone else in our lives, is to indeed let them live the life they choose, to let them go.
As we continued on our drive down the highway, I noticed other trees crammed together along the roadside, clearly cramped, held back, unable to fully mature because of circumstances that did not allow for their branches to fully extend like the branches of the solitary tree in the middle of the field. Growing too close, I saw that they would never reach their full potential. They were so crammed together they could not access enough sunlight and so they lacked the splendor of the tree in the field. Perhaps their root systems were intertwined, entangled; perhaps they struggled to find enough water to keep them healthy. Again, I felt the significance of the lone tree in the field. Left alone, the sturdy tree was offered every opportunity to grow to full maturity unencumbered by others, only the forces of nature to do battle with.
As human beings, we too are offered the opportunity to grow to full maturity, to become regal beings unencumbered by the obstacles of energetic attachment and grasping, if we so choose. In fact, unlike a tree, which is firmly planted, we have legs. We have mind. We can make personal decisions and we can get ourselves up out of dire and unhealthy situations. We can move ourselves. Even though we may have entanglements and roots that appear to keep us attached, in actuality, we always have the opportunity to move into new and better circumstances. Rather than settling for unfulfilled lives, we can choose to change, if we dare.
As human beings, we can elect to live as our spirits desire. We can choose to move away from the crowd, from the restrictions placed on us by the world we grew up in and the world we continue to attach to, to need or think we need. We can choose to do deep inner work, finding our true spirit’s desires waiting deeply within us. Like the roots of the tree seeking nurturance and the branches reaching toward the sun, our spirits always strive to grow and mature. We can learn what it means to detach from that which is not healthy and, by redirecting our intent, achieve wholeness. We can choose to view ourselves in a new way, as standing as strong and solitary, as spiritually whole and fulfilled as that tree I saw in the field.
As we go through life we have so many opportunities to provide ourselves with everything we need, yet we often turn to others to provide us with what we seek. We often stay connected to people and situations that no longer offer what we truly desire for ourselves. We stay attached to old ideas of ourselves, to old fears, and old theories of the meaning of our lives. We often remain like the trees alongside the highway. Crammed in by circumstances, our energy depleted by those around us, our opportunities for fulfillment stifled, we settle for where we are rather than dare uproot ourselves and seek new life.
The solitary, strong tree, its branches fully extended in all directions looked so happy. It looked free. It had energy! Even though it’s winter now and it was cold and windy on that day that we passed by, that lone tree looked so glowingly alive. That tree looked so contented.
Now that is what we all need, I thought. That is what our spirits truly seek. That is what we must all strive for as we live our lives, and we must let others strive for the same. We must find our way to fulfillment and completeness by constantly seeking our fullest potential, without attachment, without fear of being alone. For I saw that in aloneness that tree had everything it needed, as a solitary unit it was complete, it was enough.
In that solitary tree I saw what I always knew, that aloneness did not mean being alone. It meant being totally free. It meant being strong and open, accepting and ready for anything. It meant having the energy to accept all energy from outside without damage to self, without attachment because it was not necessary. That tree did not need anything and yet its energy was totally open and giving. By its very beingness, by having achieved wholeness it was vitally alive, part of the greater whole.
We must all find our true selves by not holding back because of fear of this or that. If that tree had fear of aloneness, or fear of wind, or fear of the seasons, it would not have achieved its glory. So is it with us, we must not be afraid to seek our highest potential and achieve our most glorious selves.