Planting the Seed of Self Love
“THE BEST TIME TO PLANT A TREE WAS 20 YEARS AGO. THE NEXT BEST TIME IS NOW.” – Chinese Proverb –
Every plant and every tree has a story and all of the stories start with a seed. When one thinks of the plants and trees of a lush, tropical destination such as the Island of Bali or Hawaii, one’s mind will drift to the beautiful flowers and trees such as the Hibiscus, Lotus, Plumeria, Lilies, and Palm or Banyan trees. In many Island cultures, native flowers are often arranged and presented in offerings in small baskets woven from palm leaves or made into leis. Sacred trees are often preserved, protected and worshipped with their trunks and branches dressed with sacred, symbolic white and yellow clothes or shrines placed at their roots. Wood from the trees can be used to carve masks for rituals and dances. One of the most common sacred trees is the Banyan Tree, which is considered a symbol of immortality and is where many temples are built.
Hang in there…I know…I’m about to lose your attention…I know how it goes…here’s a cute picture of a sprouting Seed for you.
Ok, the story of the Banyan Tree’s seeds begins with the tree’s fruits being consumed by birds and then the seeds within the fruits are deposited by these birds in other existing ‘host’ trees. The Banyan seeds then grow within the host tree’s branches and eventually envelop the tree, grow strong roots down into the ground and smother the existing tree until it dies.
Sounds like a “friendly” tree right? Not exactly the seeds you want pooped into your branches. Maybe you’ve had jobs or relationships like this?…haha. I also like that they call it the ‘host’ tree. Come on over and hang out at my place…then you kill me…sounds like a great time…haha
Anyway, the dead tree is then consumed by insects and the “host” tree provides nutrients to help the Banyan Tree to ‘selfishly’ survive. Not the most pleasant of thoughts, but it is an example of the course of Mother Nature and the ‘nature’ and perseverance of the Banyan Tree and its seeds. If these trees could speak (alive or from the grave) they would tell two very different stories. One would talk about how it was living a nice peaceful life and growing strong until one day another seed came along and then it ‘sacrificed’ itself for the health and well being of the new tree. I won’t put myself into what the ‘sacred’ Banyan Tree would say…I’ll let your mind wander on that for a moment until we get to the juicier ‘core’ or ‘root’ or ‘leaf’ or ‘branch’ or ‘fruit’ of the story.
Much like different unique types of trees (sacred or ‘un-sacred’), we as human beings also start as seeds, have our own unique and individual ‘nature’, adapt to our surroundings and do what we have to do to survive and persevere through the situations and environments that life presents.
Hopefully no one or nothing has pooped in your tree…but you know what they say when someone poops in your branches…make $h!t happen…or when $h!t happens…make $h!t Happen. I think I just made that up. You can go make the custom bumper stickers, T-shirts and coffee mugs. Remember the little people when you make tons of $$$$$$h!t!. I’ll be busy writing blogs and making videos here. ;-)
So each of us is unique and each of us has a story that began when we were a seed, planted whenever and wherever we were planted and we started to grow and our story has gone on from there. At the heart or core of YOU is your Seed or your own True and Fundamental Nature, just like the trees. Which type of tree are you?…the Host or the Banyan or some other Amazing Tree?
We have all inherited unique genes, characteristics and wisdom from our ancestors and have our own unique and individual soul, personality, spirit and nature. As a child you are cared for by the other unique beings that surround you. You are taught how to eat, talk, walk, the difference between right and wrong, how to love and many other amazing things. As you grow older you gradually learn what you like and do not like and you continue to be guided, make choices and discover new things and eventually walk your own path as only You know how. Life presents different challenges and you achieve many things and continue to create and grow into the infinite, amazing and unique being that you are. All from the Seed of You. What you do with this Seed is really up to You. You have the choice to nurture it and let it flourish, grow, blossom and bear fruits.
No…not the kind of fruits for birds to eat and poop the seeds out to go kill another tree, but life’s fruits of your labor and energy and passion.
There are many ways to nourish the Seed of You to flourish, grow, blossom and receive the fruits of your labor. In order to know how to nurture, water and grow your seed you really need to know Who You Are and have a good understanding of your Self. What Is Your True and Fundamental Nature? Who Are You?
I know…sounds like a daunting and scary question. Don’t be afraid and click the ‘X’ in the upper corner…I’m almost done here. You can make it to the end…I might say poop or $h!t one more time and I know you wouldn’t want to miss that.
Over the thousands of years of human existence many disciplines, methods and exercises have been developed by our ancestors that can be practiced to help you to create and find presence to allow your Self the time and space for Self Exploration and Self Discovery so that you can gain a better understanding of Who You Are. Yoga is just one of these disciplines.
There’s the ‘Y’ word you’ve been waiting for…I know. I’ll stop my italicized rambling there….or at least try to.
Back to the ‘Y’ word. Yoga…through the practice of asana (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation you are creating the space to gradually gain the presence and therefore increased awareness. Awareness does not happen if there is not presence. In order to find Presence it helps to slow the mind down.
No ‘presence’ vs. ‘presents’ jokes here…this is Serious Stuff here and sorry, I’m actually not going to talk about poop or $h!t again. (Oh, and I meant to say Serious $h!t before…not Stuff.)
Back to the ‘Y’ word and the ‘P’ word. Presence found through Yoga and other Mindful Disciplines allows you the time and space to increase the Awareness of Self. This may be Awareness of Sensations in your Body (e.g. ‘stretching’ or ‘having to poop or…’), Awareness of Thoughts (e.g. ‘Is he really not going to say poop again?’), or Awareness of Emotions (e.g. ‘I love or hate that he keeps saying poop and $h!t’). Ok, so the ‘A’ word (not where the poop comes from), but Awareness. That is all these disciplines are doing is developing Awareness on different levels or layers (koshas) of your Self. You can call the disciplines anything you want….Mindfulness, Meditation, Tai Chi, Yoga, or whatever you want. They are all slowing things down to increase your Awareness. Once you have Awareness you are headed in the direction of a better Understanding of the Self, which will gradually lead you toward the answer to the questions, Who am I? and What Is Your True and Fundamental Nature? This is the True Essence of Life and at the Heart of the Practice of Yoga. If you don’t understand Who You Are, how will you know what you want to do with your life and where you want to direct your Energy (Prana).
The Practice and Techniques of Yoga help you to slow down and find presence so you are more aware of your inner and outer world. If you truly get to know and understand your own Seed or where You came from, what You have experienced, and how You have grown, You can truly start to know your Self and you can conquer anything and will be able to nurture and grow your Seed into anything you choose. From the first Yoga Teacher Training I took, the Awareness of Self was the best gift (or present of presence) that I felt I received in my Yoga Practice and it has only continued to grow from there. Since my own journey of Self Awareness and Self Discovery started through Yoga, my Passion has always been to help others to start this journey and to teach and develop tools and experiences to make it a loving and caring process as they nurture and grow their own Seeds. In the Bali Unified Yoga Teacher Trainings you are carefully and lovingly introduced to this journey and are led through a series of different experiences to help you along your path to Self Discovery and Self Awareness. You are given tools that are based in Yogic Philosophy, but that are also life learning tools that go far beyond Yoga Teaching and will be applicable to your path on and off your yoga mat. Then if you choose to Teach Yoga you can also spread your own knowledge that you have gained on your own Journey of Self Awareness and can help others to nurture and grow their Seeds. Then in a way you are spreading your own Seeds from your fruits that you have grown to allow Seeds of others to do the same thing and change their lives for the better.
A much more pleasant story than where I began with the story of the fruits and pooping birds and the Banyan tree, no?
My dream and passion from the day I stood up at my first Yoga Teacher Training Graduation was to open the eyes and mind of others to help them to live a healthier and more mindful and aware life, which I believe will make the World a better place. The Unified Yoga Teacher Trainings are my way of continuing to spread Seeds of what I have learned along my journey so far in nurturing my Seed and I hope to continue to spread more and more Seeds through the teaching of Yoga and these Seeds will grow into more Yogis that will continue to do the same and we will have a whole Jungle of Trees with blossoming fruits all over the World.
…and we will still honor the sacred pooping birds and Banyan Tree for all that they have taught us, because that is what we do. What kind of bird will you imagine you are when you are spreading your Seeds? I imagine being a White Dove.
Referring back to the quote at the top of the page that possibly caught your eye and led you to this point…“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”
This blog is the beginning of a series of blogs I will be writing that will continue to present different techniques and philosophies to assist you on your journey of Self Awareness and Self Discovery. If you would like to stay updated on New Tools, Insights and Inspirations to help you along your journey, feel free to shoot an email over to me at PeakBeings@Gmail.com or use the Contact Us form.
Thank you for reading and I promise future Insights won’t have any mention of poop (or $h!t) in them. ;-)
Peace, Love and Namastes to You and the Seed of Your Self,
P.S. Hug Someone and Their Seed Today (and Please don’t $h!t in anyone else’s Tree).