A friend of mine recently shared with me a story from spiritual teacher Ram Dass. It was such a beautiful reminder and had such an impact on me that I wanted to retell it and share it with you all too.
“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it.
You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in.
And so I practise turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
I love this analogy. It invites us all to remember and appreciate each other, to be kind to each other and to see past our judgements, opinions and preconceived notions about each other.
What a wonderful spiritual practice it could be if in this next week we all practised turning people into trees—therefore giving them what we all most want—love and acceptance, just the way we are.
This week, let’s practise like this as best we can and hold close these words so eloquently spoken by His Holiness the Dalai Lama who said, “What is love? Love is the absence of judgement.”