Friday, 15 October 2010

A Tree is a Wonderful Thing.

I have days where I become deeply pensive. I cannot describe in great detail what this feels like or why it happens. I have learned to accept that it is one of those days, and I live accordingly. What happens on those days probably is not unique to me, I am sure plenty of you have experienced the same. It is as if every word become a stimulus to further thought, every sight becomes a stimulus to the senses. If left uncontrolled I can become worse than useless.

Yesterday was such a day. As I ran I kept seeing things that made me think of other things and fill my mind with thoughts. Later in the day I went out walking and allowed my senses to enjoy the experience. It was a wonderful calm day as I walked along the beach; the waves were very gentle as they caressed the sand. I sat for a moment to enjoy the experience. I sat in the shade of a tree whose leaves were turning from green to gold with the many different colours of autumn. As I looked up I saw its marvellous branches reaching up to touch the sky. For that moment there could be nothing more beautiful. There were of course other beauties still to be savoured and enjoyed but for that moment that was all I needed to be at peace.

As I sat I was reminded of the story of the old gnarled tree.

The wise man was walking with a carpenter. As the spoke together they walked along a pleasant country trail. As they walked they came upon a marvellous tree under which were many horses standing in its shade. The carpenter looked at it amazed by its size and spread. He drew closer and looked at it in more detail. He then said that the upper branches were too gnarled to be of any use, the trunk was too soft and the wood too pitted to be of any use. He then declared the tree useless for anything. “This is why the tree has grown to such a height; it is not use for anything.”

The wise man stood for a moment; he then walked over to the base of the tree and joined the horses under its shade. He found a flat stone and sat down. “Yes,” he declared, “An ideal spot for a guru to sit and contemplate.

There is no such thing as something that is totally useless. There may indeed be things of no use to one yet of much use to another. The secret is in finding its use. When its use is discovered it beauty is revealed.

Such is the way of the Tao.

This blog is linked to my other.  Can I Tempt You


  1. I like this story Ralph, it kind of reminds me of the saying "one mans trash is another mans treasure" ..

  2. Well now Ralph, I may have to disagree with you! Currently enrolled in pottery class...made two coffee mugs last night; next week I get to make more coffee mugs - this time on the 'wheel'. Have made a coil bowl, a bowl inside a mould, a bowl outside a mould; a bowl with design inside; a bowl with design outside! And in December I will get to take all these mugs and bowls home!
    They are useless!
    They will not be coming home - they will go to the charity shop; providing the charity shop has the charity to accept!
    Now that is useless!

  3. Ah But Ruby if you trully believed they were useless you would not offer them to the charity store who do not need useless items. Who knows who might wish to purchase a hand made cup or bowl. A thirsty man would be grateful for a cup to drink from.

  4. Again everything depends on perception.. I have been thinking that all those paintings that are lying around my room seem useless and so I should stop painting, again when I think that there have been moments of joy while creating them that has contributed to my inner happiness, I feel they are useful! I am useless as I am, I have to MAKE myself useful if I want to continue my life journey:-)

  5. I know what you mean Ralph, and I agree to an extent, but I have one object that is totally useless: a garlic press that won't close because the handles come together before the business end. It simply doesn't work. I should have checked it before I bought it.