Stories for the Soul

Who was Trapping Whom?

The little girl sat down grumpily on her bed. Things were just not working out for her.

What was the whole point of being surrounded by so many people when none of them could spare a minute for her?! Everyone who was rushing always brushed her aside. And everyone who was not rushing also brushed her aside. No one seemed to be wanting to listen to what she had to say.

The worst part was when they dumped the younger ones upon her. She was a child who was forced to take care of other children. And the little girl just hated it!!!

If only the others paid attention to her, she would be more willing to pay attention to the younger ones. But since the little girl did not receive any love from the others, she was not ready to part with her own love. Call her selfish. But she was just a child! She was designed to be selfish!

Frustrated with her situation, the little girl marched out of her house and ran into the woods that surrounded her home. She slowed down her steps into a more gentle tread, becoming mindful of the tall trees that surrounded her.

In a moment of deep emotion, the little girl reached for one of the trees and hugged it tightly, spilling tears onto the ground. Within a moment, she heard the whisper of a gentle breeze and looked up to see the leaves dancing in the wind that was blowing through. To the little girl, it felt as if the tree had listened to her feelings.

And why wouldn’t it? thought the little girl. The tree is just as trapped as I am. It cannot move around, it cannot feel free, it cannot talk, it cannot…

“Grow?”

It was the wise old one who had spoken. The girl sighed deeply wondering how this old man happened to pass by every time she felt low. But that investigation was for another day. Right now, she was feeling trapped and she hoped that the wise old one could lead her towards a solution, like he always did.

“If the tree is indeed trapped, how is it possible for it to grow so tall and so strong?” asked the wise old man. “What is keeping the tree trapped, really?”

“The soil…” began the little girl, but stopped her flow of words, suddenly growing wise to the situation. “The tree takes minerals from the soil. It takes light from the sun, carbon-dioxide from the air, and water from the rains…the tree takes stuff from others to grow! It is not the tree that is trapped. It is the tree that is trapping the rest!” The little girl clapped her hands gleefully in the understanding that the “poor” tree was not so “poor” after all.

“I am glad that you have understood that it is quite possible to grow from where you are, as long as you know how to “trap” the right things,” announced the wise old one, quite loudly.

“Uh? When did I say that?” wondered the little girl.

The wise old one had by this time grown wise to the little girl. He bent down and whispered into her ear. “You said it long before, when you compared the tree’s entrapment to yours.”

The little girl narrowed her eyes towards the old one since he had trapped her with her own thoughts. But she understood. She understood that it was very possible to grow tall and strong right from where you are. With this new understanding the girl skipped back to her home, getting ready to “trap” the others.

Dear Reader,

This story could be about lessons from the great trees. But that story is for another day. Today’s story is all about perspective changes.

A perspective change happens when we look at the same things from a different point of view. From our point of view, the sun rises and sets. But from the earth’s point of view, she is simply changing sides. When we understand things from earth’s point, it becomes very possible to let go of the illusion of sunrises and sunsets, and instead, just feel the dear earth move.

Our perspective is how we think, and how we think is dependent on how our brain is wired to think. Along with a perspective change, comes a shift in our thinking patterns and a resultant rewiring of the brain. This in turn, also brings about a change in the way we feel.

Take for instance, the anger that you felt over the assistant coming in late over the last three days. You will find your anger ebbing away into understanding when you find out that she has been sleeping in because she was attending to her unwell child. What happened here is a perspective shift, changing your thinking, thereby transforming your feeling.

But just like how it took centuries to accept the perspective of a spherical earth, it takes time and practice for any perspective shift to fit into place, practice being the key.

Here’s to enabling perspective changes to enable us!

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