Trees offer us so much in terms of life sustaining resources like oxygen, food and shelter to name a few. Suffice to say, life on earth would impossible without trees.
But apart from these resources, trees can also offer us a wealth of knowledge. There is so much you can learn simply by looking at a tree and how it lives. In-fact, it was a tree that helped Newton discover gravity.
So let’s take a look at 12 important life lessons you can learn by looking at a tree and how it lives.
1. Take care of yourself first
“You don’t have to give every time. It’s okay for you to take some time for yourself, as well. In fact, if you want to have enough to give to others, you will need to take care of yourself first. A tree that refuses water and sunlight for itself can’t bear fruit for others.” – Emily Maroutian
Trees teach us that in order to take care of others, we need to take care of ourselves first.
Trees take care of themselves and hence they are able to offer so much to others – be it life sustaining oxygen, food, resources or shelter. If a tree does not take care of itself, for instance, if it does not take in water or sunlight, it won’t be robust, healthy or beautiful enough to offer anything of value to others.
Therefore it is important that you take care of yourself first as you cannot pour from an empty cup.
2. Be grounded no matter how successful you become
“A tree has roots in the soil yet reaches to the sky. It tells us that in order to aspire we need to be grounded and that no matter how high we go it is from our roots that we draw sustenance.” – Wangari Maathai
Another important life lesson you can learn from trees is to always stay grounded or connected to your inner being.
The taller and bigger a tree becomes, the deeper its roots take hold. Being strongly grounded helps the tree withstand the strongest winds without getting uprooted.
The root of the tree represents the inner or the internal, and the tree itself represents the external. So to be grounded means to be deeply connected to your inner being.
Your inner reality is as important, if not more important than your outer reality. Your inner reality is always still no matter what happens in the outer world. When you lose touch with your inner reality, you get easy swayed and lost in the outer reality which is always transient and fleeting.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us“.
3. Spend time in stillness
“In November, the trees are standing all sticks and bones. Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms like dancers. They know it is time to be still.” – Cynthia Rylant
Trees teach us that there is a time to ‘do‘ and there is a time to ‘be‘.
Life has its ups and downs and while you are full of energy and motivated during your up times, the down times are for rest, relaxation and reflection.
Whenever possible try to Spend time in solitude, spend time being still, spend time asking questions, reflecting, understanding. When you are still and in reflection, you start to gain valuable insights that will guide you in the next phase of your life.
4. Remember that challenges are here to make you stronger
“Storms make trees take deeper roots.” – Dolly Parton
Another important life lesson that a tree teaches you is that challenges are here to make you stronger. A tree that constantly faces storms becomes stronger and grows deeper roots.
You might scorn at the challenges life throws at you, but if you look back on your life, you will realize that it is the challenges that have shaped you and made you what you are today.
In dealing with the challenges you learn important life lessons; you grow internally so you can reach your true potential. So keep this in mind whenever you are facing a challenge and you will find strength.
5. There is immense power within you
“To see things in the seed, that is genius.” – Lao Tzu
Trees teach us that there is immense potential that is hidden within the most ordinary of things, but one requires the right vision to discover it.
Even though a seed may appear tiny and of no significance, there is an entire tree hidden within it. The only thing required to bring the tree out of the seed are the right resources like soil, water and sunlight.
Just like the seed, realize that there is immense potential that lies dormant within you and you can help them flourish when you get in touch with the right resources. Some of these resources are the right attitude, the right vision, self belief, and self awareness.
6. Take time to be present and just be
“Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being.” – Eckhart Tolle
A tree inspires you to come to the present moment. A tree rests in its being; it is completely present and not lost in thoughts about the future or past.
In a similar way, it is important that you take time every once in a while to practice being present and conscious when you are no longer unconsciously lost in your thoughts.
7. Let go of perfectionism
“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” – Alice Walker
A really important life lesson that trees teach us is that perfectionism is an illusion.
Trees are not perfect by any means, but they are still beautiful. In-fact, their beauty comes because of their imperfections.
Nothing can ever be made perfect because perfection is subjective in nature. What looks perfect to someone will not look perfect to someone else.
Whenever you are trying to be perfect, you are trying to achieve something that is unattainable. This is why perfectionism curbs creativity, it will deter you from taking action and expressing your true self. Therefore, do not waste your time being perfect. Try to do your best but don’t worry about making it perfect.
8. Happiness comes from within
“Look at the trees, the birds, the clouds, the stars… Everything is simply happy for no reason. The whole existence is joyful.” – Anonymous
Trees teach us that happiness is a state of mind.
You don’t need a reason to be happy. You can find happiness wherever you look for it, in the simplest of things. For example, you can be happy simply by bringing your attention to the present moment and by developing a sense of gratitude for everything that is.
9. Let go of things that do not serve you
“Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop.” – Rumi
Trees never cling to the dead leaves; they let them go and hence they make way for fresh new leaves to emerge.
As humans, we tend to hold on to so much that do not serve us any good. We hold on to negative thoughts, to toxic relationships, to bad habits and to limiting beliefs. All of these drain your energy us and prevent you from taking action toward making a better future. It’s time to let all of these go just like the trees let go of the dead leaves.
10. Small actions can create big changes
“The giant pine tree grows from a tiny sprout. The journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath your feet.” – Lao Tzu
Trees teach us that small actions can make a huge difference. Even though your goals might look overwhelmingly big, when you start taking small steady steps toward them, you will eventually attain them.
11. Be patient – good things come with time
“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” – Hal Borland
Trees teach us that everything in life happens at the right time and good things always come to those who wait.
A tree knows this and hence it does not struggle or toil, but simply rests in its being. When all its leaves fall off in autumn, the tree waits patiently knowing that one day spring will come bringing forth regeneration. When the lands become dry, the tree waits patiently knowing that one day it will rain.
Faith and patience are two of the greatest virtues you can have ‘cause both these virtues will help you face almost anything that life throws at you.
12. Be willing to let go of resistance
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” – Bruce Lee.
The bamboo tree teaches us the value of being flexible, adaptable and more accepting of change.
Sometimes it is best to let go of resistance and go with the flow. Change is the nature of life and a lot of times, we are in resistance to change, but when we are in resistance, we focus on the negative aspects of the situation and miss out on all the positive aspects.
But when you let go and accept a situation, your focus changes to positive and you attract the right solutions that will help you move toward a more aligned reality.