The Tree of Suffering:

The Tree of Suffering

I teach two things. There is suffering, and release from suffering. ~ Buddha

Attachment to things, and people that we admire only brings us suffering.

Picture yourself, and your life as a mighty oak tree. The decisions that you make, and the actions that you take are the leaves hanging from the many strong branches of the tree of your life.

The leaves on your tree will sprout based on the choices that you make, and the thoughts that you focus your attention on. The most vibrant and healthiest of these leaves are those which you spend the most time thinking about, and giving your life energy to.

Some of these leaves sprouting from our trees are good and loving memories, while others are bad memories which hurt us deeply, and only bring us pain as we continue to focus our attention on them.

The tree of our life is very vibrant. It has deep roots digging into the ground to reach the nutrients that it needs to grow mighty and strong.

Our tree has many branches, these branches are full of leaves that develop and grow from the decisions that we make in life, and contribute to the destination of our future.

It is only human nature to focus on the negative experiences of our lives. What we focus on most grows stronger within us, and becomes our reality. If we only choose to focus on the negative experiences in our lives, we attract to ourselves more of these negative experiences.

If we continue to feed the leaves of our tree of life with our negative thoughts, we will continue to suffer. If we want to end our suffering we must stop feeding the negative leaves that grow upon our tree.

When we cease feeding the leaves that grow upon our tree they will inevitably wither and die, and fall to the ground below our tree of life.

Stop feeding the negative leaves that grow upon your tree, simply let your attachments die and fall carelessly to the ground below. All that will be left on your tree now are the leaves that represent your happy, and harmonious memories.

Now use the metaphor of the tree of suffering to guide your future. When life pushes you, and the memories of your past bring you suffering and sorrow, imagine those memories are leaves on a mighty tree.

Stop giving those thoughts of your past experiences that only bring you suffering your undivided attention, and let those memories die. Let those “leaves”, your painful memories of the past fall helplessly to the ground below.

You, the only master of your destiny, will walk upon your land and gaze upon the dead and decaying leaves littered sporadically on the ground at your feet. These dead leaves represent all of your attachments that you have decided to let go of.

There is only one way to deal with the decaying eyesore littering the ground at your feet. Imagine yourself grabbing a rake and raking them all into a nice heaping pile.

Gaze one last time upon all of your negative thoughts, and experiences as they lay drying, and crumbling on the ground. Go ahead and destroy them permanently by burning them in your minds eye.

Imagine them burning into ashes. See the smoke rising, and smell it permeating the air as it drifts away. With those harmful memories now destroyed, let them trouble you no more.

Every time that a bad memory, or negative experience interrupts your journey in life, you know how to deal with them.

See them as leaves hanging from your tree. Stop giving them your attention. Simply acknowledge them, and let them go. Let them fall to the ground, and burn them, so they are gone forever.

If we want to end our suffering we must stop focusing our thoughts on our negative experiences, and on our attachments. We cannot change the past, and all things are of course impermanent. Let them go, and embrace nirvana.

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Recommended Reading:

The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering

The Beginner's Guide to Walking the Buddha's Eightfold Path

The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

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