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Essence of Life

It is in the nature of cyclic existence that what has gathered will eventually disperse — parents, children, brothers, sisters, and friends. No matter how much friends love each other, eventually they must separate.
– Dalai Lama

Whether from the separation of a loved one whose path has taken them in a new direction or through a loss of a loved one to death, ultimately, we separate. It has been said that the only constant in our lives is change. Sadly, nothing lasts forever. And, gladly, nothing lasts forever. We’re all on our own paths, here to teach and learn from each other. Life and life’s lessons persist as the human experience continues.

Think of years in school where you may have had some of the best times and greatest lessons of your life. Some of your favorite memories may be from the laughter and fun you shared with friends. You may have longed for summer break, yet couldn’t wait for summer to end so you could be reunited with your classmates or teachers. Over time, teachers, classmates, and lessons evolved. Yet we know, without those adventures and insights, we would not have been able to grow and prosper, teach and learn, or manifest the story of our lives.

Contemplate a dandelion. Perhaps the image of the life of a dandelion is a good illustration of our human existence. We grow, flourish, and thrive – at times in the most unlikely of places. We blossom with the beauty of a flower. At some point, with good fortune, we age and turn gray. Subsequently, with grace and splendor, we disperse. From our beingness, we provide magnificence and purpose, while dandelions provide for future dandelions. There is always a rebirth or regrowth – this is the cyclical nature of life. There is always a positive result from our time in our environment.

Imagine a tree. Trees are vital for life on our planet. Even though a tree won’t last forever, it will still provide oxygen, food, shade, and shelter for many other forms of life. Where some flowers only last for one season, trees last for many seasons. Deciduous trees are very much like flowers, and they can be thought of as large flowering plants. Seasonally, trees sprout new growth and flower in springtime. In the summertime, trees produce food for themselves and other life forms. Additionally, trees provide protection for animals and for the planet. In autumn, life-giving green leaves change their color and disperse. The word deciduous actually means to fall off. In winter, the life of a tree slows down but it doesn’t stop. Even an evergreen sheds to make room for new growth. Trees offer some method of rebirth for the growth of new plants and the continuation of life – for themselves and for all life on earth.

Have you ever played with dominoes? Lessons in life can be drawn from dominoes. One domino affects another. Dominoes need other dominoes. Whether playing the game or just lining them up to make them fall in long rows, one domino is consequential to the next. Hence the term, “domino effect” or chain reaction or ripple effect, which can be defined as the cumulative effect produced when one event sets off a chain of similar events. It can be said that one’s life has a ripple effect on the life of others.

From dominoes to the life of trees, flowers, and humans, one is always providing purpose to those nearby. In the form of lessons or sustenance, life provides for future generations. While nothing may last forever, life does go on. While the essence of life may vary from one person to another, there are some basic commonalities. Life provides love and connection with lessons, purpose, value, and opportunities to help others – for you and everyone you meet along your journey.

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