In a previous article I had written about a huge papaya tree that had grown in the wild and thus not limited in how high or big it can grow. When I had noticed that tree I pointed it out to another person who attended the retreat.
She looked at it and said, “It looks like a male tree. They should cut it down. It’s not useful.”
I was taken aback. Here I was admiring the sheer beauty of this thing, and this woman saying that they should cut it down because it would not bear fruit.
It occurred to me how selfish we all are. We are willing to destroy nature and otherwise simply because we can find no value in it.
It reminded me of an uncle of mind arguing that my neighbours should cut down their soursop tree so that it would “brighten up the place”. Is it no wonder we have our concrete jungles out there, devoid of greenery and yet we call that development?
And while I’ve used two examples about our attitudes toward nature, it also goes to how we approach other aspects in our lives, especially towards our loved ones.
I include myself in that admonition as well. I would clear away flowers to plant herbs and food, and I would choose gifts that may have more use for me than the person I’m giving it to.
I’ve been very selfish in my life. How can I expect others to not be?
So I have to be more open to giving. Taking steps such as asking for no gifts this Christmas, to the small ones such as listening a bit more rather than speaking. The latter is much harder to do.
But more than that, I have realised that nothing I have is mine alone, or should be. Everything should be shared, whether it’s your possessions, your money, even your time.
We are a selfish breed, but that doesn’t mean that we need to be that way. We have a choice.