The Tree

Tamo was a wise master. He was acknowledged to be the wisest of the old masters. He lived as somewhat of a recluse, and often traveled alone. One day the young student approached Tamo and asked:

“Master, I have seen and had many relationships, but none made me ‘Happy”. What makes for a successful relationship between people?”

The wise man sat quietly for some time pondering the young disciple’s question and then pointed to a tree nearby.

“The Bodhi tree is your example. To grow it requires water, and sunlight and air to breathe. If any of the elements are missing, the tree cannot grow and will whither and die.”

The young man then asked: “Why do you live, then, as a recluse?”

The master replied: “Because I have yet to find all four elements present in any relationship I have come across.”

The young man asked: “I do not understand. You listed three elements and now speak of four.”

The master replied: “Among people, relationships require the nurturing of a constant spring of water to feed their roots. They require the warmth of a passion that takes the chill from their leaves when the air is cool and will carry them through the difficult times of growth and aging. And they require the air that is an understanding that recognizes the need to supply the other two in abundance.”

The young man replied: “If all these elements are present, will the relationship then be successful?”

The master replied: “Only if given equally without measure to each, by each.”

The young man replied: “What then is the fourth element?”

The master replied: “Among people, for a relationship to exist as a successful and happy and fulfilling relationship one extra element needs to be present among both that I have found to be indeed a rare pearl in the world of human interaction. In fact, I have found it to be so elusive that I as yet live as a hermit in search of it.”

“And what would that fourth element be?”

“Agape Love.”

In my life I have had relationships where just one element is present, passion will not sustain a relationship. Nurturing from one to another and not returned will not sustain a happy, fulfilling relationship, space to be independent will not guarantee a successful relationship. And Agape Love alone, the spiritual connection, will not sustain a relationship where the other elements are missing. To connect spiritually is indeed rare, but that alone is not enough to bring two distinct physical beings together who have not developed their personal relationship in their present incarnation.

(Originally written in 3-27-2003)

So much happens in our lives over the years that feeding the relationship of one another is a great challenge. Our communication built around our social media has become as much a distraction as a help to the building of and maintenance of happy and successful relationships. There seems to be more against than for. We are trying, as a people, to strengthen the relationships of the disenfranchised and I witness it in the diversity of people that watch out for one another. Love One Another is the greatest of challenges.

This Easter Season is the time to remember what happens tomorrow. A sacrifice that took a group of people to another dimension, One beyond our comprehension and belief. They didn’t see it in a movie or a TV show or streaming to their phone. One may debate the story, but the sacrifice of Jesus’ death and his visible Resurrection to the group who followed him for years  has only survived  and grown because of their belief in Love One Another. They sacrificed their own lives to share the truth of Jesus Resurrection because they lived it as impossible as it was to believe. No other single person has impacted the world as much. I believe because the sacrifice the disciples made was not to honor some king, or a  Pharaoh or because of a  Mount Rushmore built in the year 0000, it was only because a few people sacrificed their lives to spread the story of an  itinerant Rabbi who was crucified for preaching LOVE ONE ANOTHER.  That is the forth element. I believe because of their example which would never have existed without it.


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