newborn – we are tender and weak
in death – we are rigid and stiff
living plants are supple and yielding
dead branches are dry and brittle
so the hard and unyielding belong to death
and the soft and pliant belong to life
an inflexible army does not triumph
an unbending tree breaks in the wind
thus the rigid and inflexible will surely fail
while the soft and flowing will prevail
Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 76
“…I saw how it bends, flowing with the wind…”
My volunteer maple tree that started growing in my yard about a year ago showed me something last night. During this time of year we have A LOT of wind. Blows almost every day.
Looking at the tree a while back, after the leaves came in, I noticed that the few forks of branches are always intertwined with each other. So I separated them. Mind you this is a lanky tree, easily 12-15 feet tall, no trunk to speak of, just these spindly branches.
Maybe, to protect it from the wind, I need to tie it to something? A tall pole maybe?
Watching it last night I saw how it bends, flowing with the wind. Bending just enough, giving just enough, so it didn’t break. The branches were intertwined again and moved as one. With the support afforded from the group, the tree could bend with the wind without breaking. Apart, I’m sure the branches wouldn’t have survived.
Sometimes I get in a state of mind so bad that I want to withdraw and separate myself from everything and everyone. Nothing and no one holds my interest. In a way I’ve been drifting from some of my friends. The times that I may need them the most is when I want to hide instead of reaching out.
Watching the tree last night I realized Mother Nature’s design is not for us to weather storms alone. Find something to wrap up with and bend.
By Natalie Dowell. Natalie lives in Henderson, Nevada (near Las Vegas), and does Tech Support/Service/Quality for Satellite TV (Directv). Read her blog: I’d like to fly… Kindly contributed to Zen Moments by the author. (Natalie also wrote The Road Not Taken)
Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 76 – interpretation by Zen Moments.
Tao Te Ching 25th-Anniversary Edition
Translated by Gia Fu Feng & Jane English
“Truthful words are not beautiful
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