The Leaf

I found this extract from At Home in the World by Thich Nhat Hanh and it really resonated with me so I thought I would share it with you….. I hope you find it thought-provoking!


“One day when I was a child, I looked into the large clay water jar in the front yard that we used for collecting water and i saw a very beautiful leaf at the bottom. It had so many colours. I wanted to take it out and play with it, but my arm was too short to reach the bottom. So I used a stick to try to get it out. It was so difficult I became impatient. I stirred 20 times, 30 times, and yet the leaf didn’t come up to the surface. So I gave up and threw the stick away.

When I came back a few minutes later, I was surprised to see the leaf floating on the surface of the water, and I picked it up. While I was away the water had continued to turn, and had bought the leaf up to the surface. This is how our unconscious mind works. When we have a problem to solve, or when we want more insight into a situation, we need to entrust the task to finding a solution to the deeper level of our consciousness. Struggling with our thinking mind will not help.

Before going to sleep you may say to yourself: ‘Tomorrow I want to wake up at 4.30.’ The next day you naturally wake up at 4.30. Our unconscious mind, which in Buddhism is called our ‘store consciousness’, knows how to listen. It collaborates with the thinking part of our mind that we use a lot in daily life. When we meditate, we don’t only use our mind consciousness; we need to use and trust our store consciousness. When we plant the seed of a question or a problem in our consciousness, we need to trust that eventually an insight will rise to the surface. Deep breathing, looking deeply, and allowing ourselves simply to be, will help our store consciousness offer the best insight.”


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