Only A Tiny View

By  Vanessa Webb | 


The Maple tree outside my window is huge and beautiful; but, this year, it has tiny leaves.  What this might mean has worried me, because I love this tree. And yesterday it was confirmed.  It was mentioned by an arborist, that many trees are producing small leaves this year…due to lack of rain, snow, and general moisture over recent years.  

A couple of weeks ago I started watering it, in a futile attempt to do something.  Considering the tree’s enormous root system, the watering I do is only a drop in the bucket. But still, I can’t sit idle; so, every morning and evening I go out with my bucket, and water what I can.  My home isn’t my own, leaving me without much say in water scheduling...my landlord designates it as a city tree, so he leaves it alone.  So I go out there, looking a bit crazy to my neighbours, but, that's the state of things.  

image credit: unknown

This proud Maple spreads so much shade in the summers, and leaves me basking in that green hue from the sunlight that filters through. It has a resident squirrel who is always working!  He bounces around from branch to branch, and shares the space with all the birds that visit in the Spring.  There is something about Spring, that draws the birds to rummage around in the mossy bits of the tree, and no doubt they’re twittering away while they rummage.  This tree is a system in itself….and this system will be gone if that tree dies.  

This brings me to the topic of obsessive thinking. And how, through obsessive thinking, we can unintentionally neglect the larger system.  We’ve recently been working a lot with obsessive thinking, in the yoga classes I instruct.  We’ve been noticing how small our worlds become because of obsessive thinking.   This kind of thinking is so self-involved, and it revolves completely around an unhealthy emotional belief.  Obsessive thinking separates us in a way, that we don’t realize we’ve obliterated the outside world.  This unhealthy self-belief then colours our mindset and mood, and we neglect the outer world without intending to do so.  Every human has that point of weakness that sucks us in to rumination, before we realize one day, that we can’t give that obsession one more thought.  It’s like we realize we can’t even physically think about that one thing anymore.  When we reach this kind of breaking point, we’re on the verge of freedom…freedom from the obsession, and instead focused toward a larger, more thriving outlook.  Suddenly we see the system again.

image credit: ben giles

These obsessive self-beliefs are usually harmful.  They’re harmful to the way we relate to ourselves, and therefore, with the outer world.  So what can we do to open up our world?  The antidote to obsessive thinking is giving…we can give what we have.  Giving what we have is very different from giving of ourselves.  The former is generosity, the latter can be martyrdom.  Giving what we have encourages growth of gratitude within the giver, as well as engraining a deeper compassion.  Giving what we have opens our world again, it opens us to the remembrance of connectedness.  We connect more deeply to ourselves, toward what’s real and true, and we connect to the outer world.  We see ourselves as part of a larger system and we want to be a part of contributing positively to that system.  We start to see the consequences of our actions on the Whole, and we make choices toward positive connection with that Whole. We naturally want to be a part of a healthy, thriving, functioning system; but, for the most part, society is fostering an unnatural system of “keeping up with the Jones’s”.  And we’re suffering from this, the whole planet is suffering from this separation.