Trees giving shade on a laneTrees offer us a beautiful example of selfless giving that we can all endeavor to emulate on the spiritual path.

What greater blessing is there at a park or on a hiking trail on a hot summer day than a shady tree?  (well, maybe a cold drink!)  Trees are truly a gift to all living beings, and we’re reminded of this in the summertime, when they provide a much-needed reprieve from the intense rays of the sun.  And with global warming looming on the horizon, the value of trees to the well-being of our entire planet becomes priceless.  This brings to mind a saying in Sanskrit:

Chaayaamanyasya kurvanti tishthanti svayamaatape
      Phalaanyapi paraarthaaya vrkshaassatpurushaa iva

The translation:  “Just like good people, trees make shade for others and they themselves stand in the sunlight; they make fruits also for the sake of others”.  This is not to mention that they give us oxygen from photosynthesis, without which we couldn’t live.  They provide homes for many animals, shelter from wind and rain, and when their leaves drop in the autumn, they return nourishment to the earth.

Seen this way, trees are very selfless beings, and they set a wonderful example for us all to follow.  They give abundantly, and trust completely that they will receive what they need in return.  Trees are willing to be the one to stand in the sun and take the heat, so we don’t have to.

Let us follow the example of the trees.  Give shade – comfort, kindness, and solace to those in who need it.  Can you let go some slights that were done to you and forgive (like that person in line in front of you)?  This brings peace to all concerned.

Stand in the sun for others – go the extra mile, do some volunteer work, endeavor to always do your best, with a happy attitude even in the most difficult of circumstances.  Give fruit – whatever you can afford to those who are hungry or in need.  As you let go of what you don’t need in your closet, cupboards, and garage, you’ll find others who happily receive these gifts like the fruit dropping from the tree.

Whether it’s time, money, material goods, or compassion, whatever you give can make a difference to someone else.  Even words of encouragement to the clerk at the clothing store can feed a heart that’s feeling empty.  Follow the selfless example of the trees. Give without expectation of return.  Trust that as you give abundantly, you’ll receive what you need effortlessly.

 

Would you like to support trees in helping our planet? Support 8 Billion Trees!

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