Beyond Horizons

The Bonsai Philosophy

With an appearance that conveys an air of bygone aristocracy, the elegant and petite Bonsai Trees are fascinating. To me, they reflect wisdom that is both intriguing and profound.

“Bon-sai”, literally means, “planted in a container” in Japanese. As an ancient horticultural art form that emerged originally from China during the Han dynasty, the Bonsai art form went on to be developed in Japan.

Using horticultural knowledge and techniques to enhance the growth of the trees while carefully limiting its height, it is a visual delight to those who enjoy the lushness of greenery.

As a powerful yet delicate portrayal of the grandeur of Mother Earth, a Bonsai Tree is a captivating celebration of nature’s beauty.

As an art form, it seeks to preserve the natural unpretentiousness of a creation of nature. What makes it unique is that despite the involvement of man in its existence, it retains a unique identity of its own. An identity that proudly identifies itself with a sense of character.

The Bonsai Tree allows the onlooker to derive pleasure or understanding of its appearance through the experiences and lessons of their life and its impact.

Imagine if we were to interpret child rearing as representation of the philosophy of rearing and tending to a Bonsai Tree?

The tree goes through several changes and mannerisms in its life and at each stage thrives as it compels the admirer to explore their realm of imagination and derive their meaning from its growth. The aesthetic skills of the Bonsai gardener can ensure that the tree is nurtured to be part of a landscape or be part of a multi plant creation too. Like the gardener who initially focuses on the survival and health of the tree and then focuses on the artistic allure of the tree, if we were to focus on giving our best to our child in our life, there is an unimaginable depth of possibilities that our child can visualize for their future. A future that will not only see a sense of contentment in what they do but how they help others through their course of life. Like a parent, the Bonsai gardener, with his understanding of the tree, prunes and grooms the tree with the help of his skills.

As a parent what we know and have learnt will definitely help us to imbibe our values in our children. The question is, “Do we wish our children become identical versions of ourselves?”. I think not.

The philosophy of the Bonsai Tree throws light on the importance of the retention of its unique character. A character that emerges despite undergoing the guiding process of its gardener.

The success of a Bonsai Tree lies in its “seeming” naturalness. It neither attempts to convey a carefully cultivated deliberate growth but its success lies in how natural they appear. The key to its beauty lies in its originality not in a display of artificiality, obvious beauty or errors. Each tree has a character of its own.

It also has the philosophy that seeks to draw our attention on the human soul – serenity and knowledge. Knowledge that can sustain the personal joy it gives to its carer and the wisdom the receiver gets through the attainment of knowledge.

The Bonsai Tree in its true representation seeks to allow the gardener to learn and respect nature and life. It is similar to that of a parent who learns to look and comprehend the nuances of life very differently after taking up the mantle of parenthood.

Just like how its roots give the Bonsai strength, the awareness of our roots are what give us the resilience and spirit to face life. This resilience is what our children attain through our guidance and focus on balance in life.

The trunk of the Bonsai Tree is a reflection of how the personality has evolved through the experiences that life teaches us. Just as our child evolves and grows into the personality she or he is meant to grow into.

The branches that move towards the sun in the sky can be visual representation of how our attitude in facing what life teaches us, allows us to grow and develop as a human. Let us allow our children to reach out to where their life takes them.

The Bonsai Tree is a artistic example of how we can accept our child as a unique personality despite our guidance and support. They have an identity that we need to feel happy about, encourage and celebrate.

The identification of the Bonsai Tree to child rearing is not what is of paramount significance here. On the contrary, while observing a Bonsai Tree, we are invited to ponder over the complexity of life and the philosophies that our world teaches us to lead a better life.

Each of us have the liberty to decide what the philosophy of the Bonsai Tree teaches us.

Is it a reflection of life’s philosophy instead of a philosophy that throws light on child rearing?

The choice is yours.

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