Self realization being the best form of realization, I have always felt that the lessons best learnt are those we learn ourselves. Provided that we keep our eyes open, fantastic lessons abound in Nature.
There is a wealth of instruction, for example, in the “ordinary” tree. Paeans have already been written on its humility and generosity but there are other lessons as well, especially in those trees that grow in the wilderness. Have you ever noticed the contrast between how human beings and trees react to adversity? We balk at the slightest sign of tough times but the tree accepts it as a matter of course. It will stand placidly through the coldest of winters, conserving its spirit and energy and then burst forth into bloom at the first touch of Spring.
Most of our miseries are the consequences of our expectations and the resultant discontentment. If only we could learn to count our blessings like the lowly thorn trees of the Aravallis. When it doesn’t rain, they appear to all purposes, shriveled up and dead. But look at them after just a few drops of rain: it is as though the entire range has been touched by magic, as these skeletal thorn trees shed their dry purples and don lustrous green mantles. Isn’t that making the best of what they have rather than hankering for ‘more’?
Adapting to circumstances is yet another lesson from the trees and plants, whether it is the serrated ‘keekar’ of the desert or the buoyant round leaves of the lotus. They tell the same story of changing positively according to one’s situation. Trees also beautifully illustrate the contrast between the fates of the rigid and the pliable, as seen in the visuals of the devastating floods on our TVs these days. It is the rigid that fall while the supple grass just bows its head and waits for the waters to recede.
On the other hand what can be more inspiring than the tiny sapling growing through solid rock? A sterling example of what ‘will’ can achieve!