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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Defining Moments

I grew up amongst an agricultural people. As farmers, we developed a necessary understanding of the times and seasons of life. It was important for us to know when to plant and when to harvest. As a boy, I was always curious about how things grew; how one grain of corn, or one pea, or one head of yam could produce such abundant crops when properly cultivated. I found myself wondering what really happened after that grain was put into the ground.

Besides helping with the larger field that the family cultivated, we each had a little plot where we could plant something. At an early age I understood that my responsibility was to keep my plot free of weeds and other unproductive elements. I understood that a plant needed sunlight to grow. I understood that the ground had to be properly prepared before anything was planted, and that it would need to be maintained free of anything that would stifle the growth of our crops. As organic farmers, we shunned the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers. We knew that these were bad for our food and for us. Our method was first to plant at the right times. Secondly, we ploughed back into the soil the dung of our domestic animals and unused or unuseable portions of the crop. These were great fertilizers... the only ones we used.

I knew about the importance of good sunlight, good deep soil, and proper care, but how did things actually grow...? What happened between the time we planted until that first stalk appeared?... I was very curious about this. It always seemed like things would grow overnight so one night I took a lantern and went into my little patch of land. I found a place to lay down close to where I had planted a head of yam. I was determined to actually see this thing grow. I was about to make a seminal discovery.

I put my lantern down and gently dug away the soil around the seedling that had been planted a couple of weeks prior. As I did, I discovered that the whole outer portion of that head of yam had seemingly withered away... kind of dried out, and in the middle of this dried-up outer shell was a life-filled new bulb sprouting from the old shell. Something was dying ...and something new was coming forth. I was filled with wonder and amazement. I realized in that moment that what we percieve in finite terms as death is just a transition to the infinite. Nothing ceases to be. Things go from one state of being to another.

The potential for renewal and abundance is a fact of life that many of us remain unaware of. Many among us are just not inquisitive enough. I remember the saying printed in the front one of my readers in elementary school that declared: "Interest is the soil in which intelligence and knowledge grows'. This was a defining moment in the evolution of my consciousness. I came to realize in that moment that we should have no fear of death. The old shell must necessarily fall away so that the new bulb within can come into being. I carefully covered that seedling, got up with my lantern, and headed back to bed. As I walked back to the house I became aware of the vast heavens above me with its multitude of stars. In that moment I thought to myself... there is so much we can learn from the simple things all around us that we take for granted every day.

Our lives are like seeds. Our abundance or lack thereof is a direct function of the process of our cultivation. How deep is the soil in which we find ourselves? How exposed are we to the sunlight that we need to grow? Are we surrounded by weeds that sabotage our growth? Are we putting the proper nourishment into ourselves... Or are we poisoning orselves? Are we putting into ourselves stuff that puffs us up but does not truly nourish us? . Are we wasting the reuseable resources that can enhance our productivity? These are just a few of the questions we must face as we examine our prospects for growth and further development. Our answers to these questions will define the degree of our prosperity in this world. One thing is certain, we will have no harvest where we have not labored... On the other hand, we will most certainly reap what we sow.

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