My son is in love with seeds. Almost every time he eats an apple, peach, or any fruit, he seriously considers the seeds and wants to plant them. We have tried so many times to plant the seeds and they rarely sprout up. If they do, they often wilt shortly after. I don't want to douse his sweet ambitions, but it takes a long time to grow a tree from seed. And I don't want to have his spirit crushed each time it doesn't work.
I have seriously considered buying an apple sapling and planting it in one of his pots, but he is too smart for that trick.
The problem is, once you plant a seed, you are responsible for taking care of it, defending it, and watering it every day. If we planted every seed that he wanted to plant, there would be no room for our house on our lot, and I would be a full time gardener (which actually sounds awesome).
This subject has gotten me to thinking about the seeds that we plant in our own minds and souls, and in those of our children. Also, the seeds which were planted in my own little self when I was a child.
These seeds are our ideas, judgments, and notions of life, and the way things are "supposed to" be. Who the "bad guys" are, and who we can really trust. How we should act, speak, and feel. We look to our parents and later to our peers for guidance in this area.
The seeds we plant in the minds of our children, and other people whom we influence, need to be closely considered. These seeds grow into fully formed beliefs, which then grow into actions and major life choices.
The seeds are planted by our words, but perhaps more so by our actions. I can tell my kids all day long to be kind, but if I am cranky while driving, or short with the cashier at the grocery store, they will not be convinced of my words of kindness. I can tell them to eat healthy foods and to take care of their bodies, but they learn better by seeing me nurturing my self.
We tell our children to keep their rooms clean as they watch us contributing to pollution. We tell them to try to get along, and to respect others who are different from us. They watch us as we divide ourselves into two major political groups. We hurl stones and put the fight above the goal of making positive change.
I have found that many of the seeds that were planted while I was young (whether planted by parents, friends, or society) needed to be uprooted later on in my life. Much of my self work has been, and will continue to be, looking deeply into my pre-conceived notions and holding them up to the light. Or, as I often joke, "unlearning" what I learned as a kid. How does this idea serve me now? And how does that erroneous belief get transferred on to my children and other loved ones? How can I find a new way and implement that new way so that it becomes second nature?
Usually, our changes begin with a thought, then the action, then the change. Neale Donald Walsch, in book two of "Conversations with God" speaks of making a change by first changing our actions, and allowing that action to change our thoughts, leading to lasting change in our lives (side note: I highly recommend these books for all open-minded spiritual seekers).
What are your deeply pre-conceived notions? How do they serve you? And, how can you act now to begin positive change in your own life and in the life of your community?
The Dalai Lama said, "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." Maybe we can run these words through our minds as we relate with others, ourselves, and our environment. Who knows what seeds we may plant?