One day a young man with spiritual quest met a Master. He asked the Master, “Master, how do you think I can stop evil thoughts and negative emotions from entering my mind?”
The Master asked the young man, “Where do you think the evil thoughts and negative emotions are generating from? Are they originating from your mind, or are they being induced into you from your surroundings?”
A bit perplexed, the young man replied, “I think they are originating from my mind only.”
The Master gave a smile and asked the young man to come with him into his backyard. There he showed to him a massive tree with huge trunk and branch structure. The tree was magnificent and full of life. The greenery around it was spreading some kind of pleasant energy.
The Master asked the young man, “Does this tree tell you something?”
Confused, the young man nodded his head horizontally.
The Master asked the young man, “Did you ever see the seed of a tree?”
The young man replied, “Yes. I did see. In fact, I have planted some myself.”
“How big are the seeds in size?” asked the Master.
“Well, they aren’t big. They are very small. The biggest of seed I have seen is fistful; that of a mango tree.”
“Then, how do you think that such a small seed has grown into a huge tree you are right now looking at?” “Does it have all the energy in it while it was seed which it is utilizing to grow?”
“No. The seed gets its energy from its surroundings; earth, water and air. Otherwise, it will not be able to grow into a massive tree.”
“Well, then, that means the whole credit for this massive structure should be given to the surroundings, isn’t it?”
Now, the young man was a bit more confused. But he decided to comply with the Master and said, “Perhaps, yes. The credit to this massive structure should go to the environment only.”
To this the Master, with his perennial smile, said, “Oh! Do you think that if the seed did not have the capacity to take in all the energy provided by the surroundings, will just the surroundings be able to build up a tree?”
The young man understood that he was wrong, and he said, “Master, I am confused. Please tell me who is responsible for this structure, then?”
The master brought him back into his house and explained to him the truth about this riddle.
“My dear son, just as a good seed with bad surroundings and a bad seed in good surroundings cannot grow well, good thoughts in evil company and evil thoughts in good company cannot grow.
That does not mean that all the accountability lies with the surroundings. If there is no seed, there can be no tree. But the seed alone cannot decide whether it will grow into a healthy tree or a malnourished one. The seed is a seed. Its purpose is to grow. Now, if you give good light, enough water and fertile soil, it will grow into a healthy tree. If you do not give it all these things, it will either grow into a malnourished tree or it might even die.
The seed is like your mind and the thoughts are the surroundings. If you constantly feed your mind with negative inputs, you are bound to get negative outputs. Moreover, the more you think about those negative thoughts, the more you are feeding them in wrong direction.
It is like having an enemy. You think about your enemy more than you think about your friend. So, indirectly you are contributing most of your valuable time to something that you actually do not want to contribute to.
So, the lesson that the tree taught me, and will teach you as well if you learn, is to be careful about what you take in. Don’t just believe what others say about you. Judge for yourself and only then give those thoughts access into your mind.
Another lesson is to choose your company wisely, because just like a small plant cannot grow in the vicinity of a big tree, positive thoughts cannot survive while you linger with people full of negative emotions.
Of course, your goal should be to become a massive tree of positive thoughts; then, you can give shelter to smaller plants with negative emotions.”
With this explanation, the young man felt relaxed and peaceful. He went home with a satisfied mind and positive thought frame.