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What a Leaf Can Teach You

I was overjoyed to get a break from the oppressive heat this morning. When the temps are in the low 60's or high 50's in the summer, I love to meditate outside. Not only is the view much more pleasant than the wall inside my bedroom, but you can also bathe in the sounds and smells of the morning.

Of course, I have to do it extra early before Downstairs Dude wakes up with his morning cigarette. Gross.

Yoga teaches dharana, which can easily be lost in our age of distraction. This is the practice of concentration, or one-pointed attention. It's much easier to practice this on my patio with an open, yet limited, view.

This morning a single leaf caught my attention. There wasn't anything unique about it aside from being one of several on the branch closest to my patio.

The leaf seemed to bounce in the breeze. It didn't have a choreographed dance. Instead, it just moved wherever the breeze took it. It didn't insist for the breeze to come stronger or weaker or come from the same direction each time. It accepted the breeze each moment, each strength, and each direction. It opened itself up completely to the spontaneity of the breeze.

The leaf also didn't care to set itself apart from the rest. It knows its place on the tree. It shares resources with the other leaves on the branch. It lives in humble service to the tree.

The leaf also recognizes the impermanence of life. Many months ago, it was just an idea in the deep freeze of winter. The bud of the leaf sprang forth the moment the tree chose. It flourishes in its deepest expression in the summer, but it eventually will grow weak in its life-giving service.

The leaf knows its time to let go. Although no longer connected to the tree, it changes again, giving everything left back to the earth. The essence of the leaf never dies, it just simply changes form.

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