It all started in my room. I wanted to discover my own nature. I had heard from somewhere that it would help me discover the universe. Why did I want to discover the universe? Well, if I knew my true nature, I’d know the a answer to that question, I thought. So I set out on a journey to explore my nature.
How could I explore something I didn’t know? I had no idea. I thought the best thing to do would be to start exploring anything in my mind, till I settled on what was my nature. Perhaps it was to be a pattern in the way I think. Perhaps my nature was to keep searching for it. But that would be a contradiction. If I ever found that to be my nature, then it would no longer be my nature. Since I would stop searching for something I had already found. Yet, perhaps the very fact that I consider the possibility a contradiction makes that my true nature.
I decided to talk to nature. Maybe some part of nature would step out and cry, “Hey, I’m yours! Yeah, that’s right. Your nature!” Besides all search and research starts from nature. Why does it always start from nature? But then, what is beyond nature? Could one start a search outside nature? How does one do that? Whatever I could think of, or imagine, would still consist of some fundamental units which are derived from nature. Even contradicting nature itself takes nature as a base, and then tries to oppose it. Anyways, I could not find any other possibility, perhaps due to my nature. So I resigned myself to starting my search for my nature by talking to nature.
The tree was the first I thought of. Why a tree? Because it was standing in front of me and teasing me as I stared into the wild. It was saying, “You, who always walk past me, and treat me like I mean nothing. You wish to talk to nature?” I thought back to the last time I had entered this patch of green, and how I was lost in thought when I pranced across. I asked, “Did you feel ignored?” The tree shook a bit, and replied, “Do you think I have nothing better to do than pass moral judgments on people who walk across me?”
The tree sounded confused, I thought. But then, why did the tree speak to me today, and not greet me on the other day? I would have responded with a big smile on my face. I asked.
“Smile? Oh, no. You would have wondered who was calling you. You would have looked about you, and not cared to give a thought to this little tree here, reaching out as far as it could. Struggling to make its presence felt.”
“Do you also need to feel touch? To feel another skin against yours?” I asked, realizing for the first time that I had failed to notice it.
“May I remind you, dear, that I can’t even reach my neighbour, despite him being in sight throughout? You’re my only hope to reach out to something new, to acknowledge and nature beyond my own, through a sense of perception. Do I have eyes? Mouth? Tongue? Ears? My only means of interacting is touch. It means everything to me.”
Feeling sorry for what I had been to the tree, I hugged it tight. “Does that feel better?” I asked.
“Thank you. I really needed that. I owe you for making me feel significant. I don’t know any way I can explain what it means to me. “
“No, you don’t owe me anything. You’ve made me see something I never thought I’d see.”
There I was, noticing that I started on a hunt to find something that was mine, and had learnt that everything was mine, if I gave it attention. I had learnt that nature was not distinct from my nature. It was to enhance my own nature. I was not distinct from nature, but a part of it. Whatever value I chose to share with nature, it would share back with me.
Then I had a doubt, so I asked the tree, “When I eat your fruits, and chop off wood from you to make paper, does it hurt you?”
“Do you have a choice? If I told you it hurt, would you stop?”
I was a little worried, but said, “I would certainly try.”
The tree laughed, and said, “I scared you didn’t I? Well, you should have thought of it before you asked! Anyways, to answer your question, let me tell you that we don’t have volition. You do. But we are born with a very specific purpose, which is to transfer the sun’s energy to a form which can be used by other beings. The only volition that we have, is to evolve. Some of us have chosen to evolve forms of protection, but it only extends their lifetime by a short duration, and makes them lose some forms of beauty. Those of us who were willing to pay this price for the beauty we possess, have chosen to remain this way. That is the only choice we are capable of exercising. Those of us who exercised their choice too much, ended up in a situation where they could no longer address their purpose of life, and got eliminated in the process. We, the plants and trees, are unable to express forms of volition such as emotions. We rely on beings like you to provide that, since you have the capability of exercising your volition in our favour. “
I thought deeply on this. “When Newton came up with the theory on gravity, had the apple tree expressed his creativity through Newton?” I asked innocently.
The tree chuckled, “I have no idea! We know as much about our ancestors as you do!”
I lay down leaning against the tree, thanking it for the shade it provided me from the sun. I hadn’t stopped thinking, but I had started to feel sleepy.