From season to season, the natural world offers steady insight into the essence of reality. Here are 5 Zen thoughts on forests, plants and trees – and how these beings reflect our own existence.

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1. Bend with the wind. Nature favors balance and flexibility over sheer strength. We can’t always change events, but we can always change how we react to those events.
Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind. – Bruce Lee

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2. Be steady. We find inner peace when we learn to simply be still and embrace our surroundings. Seasons and living beings come and go while we remain rooted in tranquility.
Just think of the trees: they let the birds perch and fly, with no intention to call them when they come and no longing for their return when they fly away. If people’s hearts can be like the trees, they will not be off the Way. – Zen Saying

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3. Be patient. The cool shadow of a tall tree is the result of years or decades of growth. Good things develop over long periods of time, and even the slowest path has a destination.
There is nothing useless in nature; not even uselessness itself. – Michel de Montaigne

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4. Be open to wonder. Be willing to drink in the wonderfulness of this world. Look for the big messages in life’s small signs.
The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness. – John Muir

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5. Be connected. Know that every interaction and every life you touch is intricately tied to everything surrounding it.
But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything. – Alan Watts