Distinctive to humans, we face each day with an abundance of choices. We choose when we wake up, what we wear, when we leave the house, what we eat, what we say, even the mood we’re in. It’s all a matter a choice. Plants exist and survive instinctively. From their choice-less instincts, we can learn a few life lessons:
Plants set no limits for size. They eat what is available and grow as much as they can.
Humans choose either to overeat and become fat or diet and become skinny. We worry about our food intake and eat to regulate our weight. Books on dieting are best sellers.
Plants love struggle—it makes them stronger. A tree directly exposed to the wind and weather grows thicker roots and trunks to make them stronger and more stable than other trees growing in sheltered areas.
Humans avoid life struggles. Some take pills or drink to forget them. We avoid them whenever possible, and if unavoidable, complain.
Plants don’t needlessly suck all the resources out of the soil in which they are planted. They take what they need to grow, thrive and reproduce.
Humans are never satisfied. We farm, fish, mine, drink, and consume to depletion.
Plants track the sun with their flowers and/or leaves to make themselves a better, healthier plant.
Humans are fearful of the sun. We wear wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts to avoid a sunburn, and slather our children with lotion at the beach.
Plants change their routine to adapt. They shut down in winter, put out new growth in the spring, store food in summer, and shed leaves to conserve resources in the fall.
Humans keep the same life routine season-to-season. To adapt to changing temperatures, we just change clothes.
Plants purify the air as they breathe and some even neutralize pollutants through absorption.
Humans pollute the air with fuel exhaust and chemicals and become sick from breathing the air.
Plants in shady spots climb whatever they can find to absorb the sun’s energy. They grow their roots toward water to store it in their leaves.
Humans tend to let events or feelings prevent us from moving forward in life.
Plants focus on what they need to do to fulfill their own potential.
Humans compare themselves with others instead of focusing on our own potential.
Everything—even mountains, rivers, plants and trees—should be your teacher. —Morihei Ueshiba, founder of the Japanese martial art of Aikido, the “Great Teacher”