I recently read a quote from the Chinese classic text, The Tao Te Ching,
“The giant pine tree
grows from a tiny sprout.”
I pondered these lines and their meaning to me. I reflected on the literal sense, the wondrousness in nature of a seedling becoming a tree, or a baby mammal, with its small limbs and closed eyes, becoming an adult. And figuratively, the spark of an idea igniting and developing. Growth – the potential within everything to become something bigger.
During my walk this morning I marveled about growth, about the tiny molecules – the building blocks – inside everything, with all the necessary tools to develop into something great. I thought of God, of nature, and science, and the magnificentness of it all. As my boots crunched on the crystalized snow I thought of the plants underneath, lying dormant during the frigid weather, ready to push their way to the surface and blossom in the spring.
I thought about the essential elements needed for growth: light, water, warmth, and nutrients (knowledge I ascertained in science class all those years ago). I thought about how these needs stand true for both plants and humans alike. How we crave these things. How my new regiment of a daily walk helps fulfill elements for growth; feeling the light and warmth of the sun on my skin, soaking up Vitamin D, filling my lungs with the fresh mountain air. My walks also allow me time to think and reflect. I may be done with my physical growth, but these elements seem to help with mental growth too.
Growth can be described as the development from a simpler to more complex stage. Is this true of humans? Do we become more complex over time? The accumulation of our life experiences influencing our thoughts and ideas. Is real growth being able to decipher through all this, to learn from it, to pick out what is important and what isn’t?
I have the pleasure of having friends of various ages and stages of life. I have noticed that some of my friends appear to have things more figured out; they seem calmer, wiser, more settled, and accepting, they ask more questions and are better listeners. This to me is growth. We can grow as a human beings in how we relate to others and the world around us, in how we see ourselves in the bigger picture. There are lessons we can learn on our journey through life, to help us grow and develop, they are there in everyday events and interactions, if only we look for them.