Chapter 5 - Survive / Thrive - Lesson from a Banyan Tree

An interesting conversation that started with an innocent question by my husband: What if we compare the leaves of a tree with the thoughts in the human mind? I am going to try and transcribe a beautiful dialogue that began between me and my husband and ended up with some amazing and long-lasting learning for us.

Raj and I have been going to a hill close by to stay closer to nature on weekends, away from the hustle to recharge our batteries for the upcoming week. The tree under which we rest to contemplate looked a little weak that day as most of its leaves were dried up and we could see the wind detaching the leaves from the tree slowly and gently. On the other side of the mountain stood a lush green tree, tall, dense and full of life. We discussed how lush green leaves add beauty to the tree just like positive thoughts add a glow on someone carrying those thoughts. The difference between the two trees was that the other tree grew near a place where it had an ample supply of water and sunlight required for it to flourish and this tree didn't. So the next best thing that this tree is trying to do is consume whatever water it can from the leaves, lay low for time being till it gets the required supply of water to stand back up. There's nothing wrong with it, this is its survival strategy. While this tree is surviving, the other tree is thriving and that's how we want our lives to be.

Because we've accepted the fact that life is meant to be hard and survival is the only option, we don't even try to think that there might be a way around. My husband and I don't want to just survive in whatever condition we are thrown in, we want to thrive and that's possible if we provide our minds with the right nutrient that would make us and anyone coming in contact with us feel happy and at peace. We concluded that the thoughts that stay for a long time somehow turn into habits and then an essence that defines who we are. In order to have a flourishing life, we will need to feed our minds with empowering and flourishing thoughts. There's something to learn from every situation, so this Banyan Tree that's trying to survive is teaching us how we should let go of resources once their purpose is done. Letting go of something that we've been holding on to for so long merely because it puts us in an uncomfortable situation to let go of it even after its purpose is done is additional baggage that'll only slow us down when we are trying to ascend in life.

Noah Rasheta, in one of his podcasts, talked about a scenario that revolved around a similar concept. Say we want to cross the river and then climb a mountain after that, we built a raft to go to the other side of the river but after reaching the other side we realize that climbing the mountain carrying this raft is not going to be very convenient and so we decide to leave the raft behind. There's nothing wrong with this, the raft served its purpose and it was important for us to cross the river but now its need is not required in fact its presence will make it difficult for us in our journey ahead. The raft which served as an asset when we wanted to reach on the other side has become a liability now and we need to let it go. This is an example of a nonjudgemental approach where we do not judge any situation as wrong or right instead try to learn from every situation that we are in.

~ Anila Andezhath

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