By cocodolenz, May 23 2018 01:16AM
So just a few days of neglect can wither a young tomato plant. Leaves droop and slowly the plant starts to die. Then with just a drink of water, it perks up the leaves regain their strength and the plant resumes its growth, producing flowers which will eventually end up as fruit. Yes tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable. But I digress. This is the 2nd time this tomato plant has neared death. When I first planted it, some neighborhood critters, still yet to be discovered, ate the leaves off the branches, but left the stems intact. I moved it to a protected place, fed it, and gave it light and water. It produced new leaves and flourished. It just needed some focused attention.
In Mark Nepo’s book, The Book of Awakening, Mark writes “This is the ongoing purpose of full attention: to find a thousand ways to be pierced into wholeness. “ He goes on to compare Mother Nature with our own nature. In making the comparison he suggests, for instance, “…when feeling finished, watch newborn animals open their wet little eyes and imitate their innocence. Once giving full attention, you will come back - one drop at a time - into the tide of the living.”
The first step is awareness or attention. Basic awareness. Sometimes we can be so caught up in the future, or the next FB comment, we go un-conscience and lose awareness of our present surroundings. The tomato needs water. Neglect it for too long and it dies without what it needs to thrive and grow and produce. Looking to ourselves, without being fully aware of our basic needs, we, too, can wither and die. He goes on to say that to use any particular capacity, initial awareness is usually the prerequisite. Then focused awareness sets in motion the stage for the use of our talents.
I’m reminded of the old adage, ‘use it or lose it.’ A muscle not used, withers and loses its strength. A tool left in the rain, rusts and becomes dull and useless. But with focused awareness, comes survival and growth. Giving priority to basic needs is a quality that Charles Tart calls ‘within-state enlightenment.’