Tall Pines


Pine Trees. By Hasegawa Tohaku. (1539-1610),

by Mike Shinyo

One day in Germany, I watched some tall pine trees sway in the wind. These trees were very tall and strong. The wind was heavy toward the top of this hill that they stood on. It would seem that these strong trees could stand up to the wind but they didn’t need to. They were content to sway with the wind rather than fight it. I thought about how much the wind blows where I live. Could I grow stronger by following the example of the pine trees? These tall pines grew regardless of how windy it was. They swayed with the wind rather than fighting it.

This reminded me of something I learned years ago from a martial arts instructor. He asked his students to imagine themselves as a leaf floating on the river. He then asked, “What do you do when you come to a split in the river?” I already knew the answer. When I was a kid floating down the river in an inner tube, I came to a split in the river. I wanted to take the narrow path and tried paddling that way. The current was too strong for me to get there. I ended up stuck in some brush, upside down in the water. I made it out and decided that it was best to go with the flow of the river rather than fight the current. If those tall pines could talk, they might say “Go with the flow.”

Mike Shinyo Sensei is a Lay Minister with Bright Dawn Way of Oneness Sangha. For information about Bright Dawn and the Lay Ministry program please visit our website.


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