The Curious Tree of Lahaina: A tangible lesson in mindfulness


I was flipping through some old photos this week and stumbled upon this photograph of a solitary tree which I took in Old Lahaina on the island of Maui in May of 2013. Now, you might just see this and think “It’s just a tree”. There is certainly no controversy that it is, at base, a tree. Some might say a simple, perhaps even a boring looking tree. I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I didn’t know (and still don’t know) what kind of tree it is (not that its type would necessarily make it less or more boring to the next observer).

Yet, for reasons which I could not explain in human utterances, I felt completely drawn to this tree. It was my first day in Maui with one of my best friends, Gurinder, and more to the point our first visit to the marina in Old Lahaina where I discovered this tree. The sun was just setting, and we wanted to stay as long as we could before it got dark outside.

It sounds really strange to say this, but a part of me only now recognizes – and believes – that this beautiful-yet-curious tree in Old Lahaina was imparting an important message to me. That message, as it were, was an outward expression of the genuine, inner peace that one can attain through stillness and mindfulness.

You see, what I did not appreciate at the time is that what this tree represented to me were important human qualities such as humility, gratitude, and joy – all of which I would contend are nourished and cultivated through the simple approach of existing in the moment (as opposed to living for tomorrow to correct the past). Regrettably, I had adopted a live-for-tomorrow approach in my busy, chaotic work life up to that point in my life (and in hindsight, to the detriment of my emotional, physical and spiritual well-being).

Indeed, I see now what I could not see then in this photograph – a tangible manifestation of stillness and mindfulness.

As I embark on this next chapter in my spiritual, emotional, and physical journey, I will wake up each day with love, intention and gratitude for this important lesson in mindfulness that I hope will resonate with you. I am excited for the many more lessons that await me on my journey ahead.

Namaste, everyone.

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