The Tree that Forgot Its Roots
Once upon a time there was a magnificent oak tree that grew upon a lofty mountain top. The view was splendid in all directions, and from hottest summer through bitterest winter.
For more than 400 years the tree had grown and thrived. It was looked upon by all the other plants on the mountain as a marvel, for none of them could have survived in such a vulnerable place. They were somewhat envious because, while they could not go to experience it themselves, they had heard as members of the network of life, that the oak had the premier location on the entire mountain. They did not relate to the special challenges and stress that went with the position.
In the last decade of its life, the tree produced an acorn that was very ambitious compared to its brothers and sisters, for as it ripened it listened through its psychic ear that vibrated within the network of life energy. It heard rumors of even more lush environs where it believed that it could surpass the clearly evident glory of its parent.
From its birth place high in the tree, far below and far beyond the place of its birth, it saw an enormous distance spread out, vast, and receding into perpetual mist. It took no notice of its wild and joyful swinging in the constant winds and storms of the mountain. Instead, as it ripened, it fixed its yearning upon a distant and alien plain, a distant mystery.
The season progressed and the time of its parting came. The little acorn was determined not to be caught and trapped in the familiar soil culture of its parent. At its moment of truth the acorn was released, and as it fell, the ambitious acorn summoned all of its Spiritual power, and directed itself to strike a rock. It took a great bounce which propelled it over the edge of the cliff where it fell a great distance. Then it rolled down the mountainside until it fell into a stream and continued downward, being carried toward the mysterious valley
At one point it became logged in a niche at the side of a brook where it might have rotted in the water, but a fierce storm came up and flooded the stream, dislodging the acorn and sending it on its way again within an even greater torrent. Eventually, it reached a far valley and passed into a great marshy plain. Finally, the flood waters which had brought it off the mountain receded, depositing the acorn on top of a marshy hammock.
The little acorn knew its journey was over and quickly took root. But the conditions there were not favorable for oak trees. The tall marshy grass kept it in constant shade. The hot soil and air were always too wet, and the marsh chemistry lacked the special ingredients of its parent earth. But the acorn was hardy, and possessed of tremendous will. It began to grow.
In a few years, even in its stunted form, it became a little tree that reached well above the tallest grass and shrubs. Now the oppressive sun scorched it in the boiling dampness. The essential relentless mountain wind which was needed to bend and warp its little trunk to stimulate the movement of the precious nourishing fluids that rise from the earth through its roots were instead little more than insipid swamp zephyrs. They never once reached the fury of a typical mountain storm.
The young little oak knew it was doomed. In this hostile place, even its very success created its early death. Although there were insufficient winds to stimulate its growth beyond that of a small distorted shrub, there was the rare hurricane with its fierce monsoon winds. The tree knew its growing bulk soon could not be sustained in the wet and mucky soil of the swamp. The internal truth of the tree knew it would crash to certain death even before the fulfillment of its youth.
On a rare day when a brisk cold breeze that rarely blew was felt, the misty skies were briefly cleared. In its reaching for the sky, the little tree beheld a far off mountain top that clouds and mist usually hid. In the spiritual eye of knowing that serves all living things, the tree dimly saw a withered and blasted oak upon the highest escarpment of the distant mountain. There it was, a familiar mighty oak, its dead bulk still commanding the premier spot leaning over the valley from its special point of masterful dominance. Now, too late, the little tree knew.
“I have erred.” lamented the little tree.
“I have betrayed my appointed place. Would I if I could be back growing beside my parent. Alas, my misplaced will and the illusion of my self-serving ambition took me away. Now I shall die, unfulfilled, away from the earth that was to be my promise. Instead I will rot in this relentless swamp whose earth is alien to my roots.”
But this misplaced life was not a wasted life. In interfering with and betraying its original promise, in the tribulation that followed that wrong choice, the little acorn achieved a higher consciousness and learned about a vast world of potential and threat. Especially, it learned more about its own true nature. It reached a greater appreciation of the benefits of natural harmony than could have been the case in the orthodox and mundane pattern in the life of an acorn growing beside its parent.
Such was the little acorn’s painful lesson in the cosmic nature and purpose of tribulation. Thus, when the cycle of eternal life returned the fallen tree to the swamp in which it had taken root, its expanded plant soul was raised again to a reformed destiny. A higher expression of its Spiritual manifestation was now prepared to be fulfilled as a new and higher order life.