Although I occasionally love to insert the witty, humorous or quirky sayings of others in my communication, I've always mistrusted the use of quotations for enlightenment because it's difficult to avoid coming across as either too folksy, too esoteric, or simply just 'kitsch' or corny.
Nevertheless, there was one thing I found in a book called 'Everyday Tao', by Deng Ming-Dao, which has been playing itself around and around somewhere in my head for a few months now. This book is quite simple, short explanations of the origins and meanings of a number of Taoist principles and characters. The one which I liked particularly was "Pair". I won't quote the book; the idea within that interested me was the notion that opposites are pairs and that the one gives the other its meaning to us. I think this is really true and has been helpful in understanding the concept of paradox, in which two otherwise independent and workable notions are given a new, seemingly unworkable, meaning by being placed next to each other.
Then, just as I was about to leave it at that, I found the following quotation attributed to Deng Ming-Dao, and couldn't quite leave it where I found it:
" A tree uses what comes its way to nurture itself. By sinking its roots deeply into the earth, by accepting the rain that flows towards it, by reaching out to the sun, the tree perfects its character and becomes great ... Absorb, absorb, absorb. That is the secret of the tree."
After so many experiential team building courses spent in exploring management metaphors in woodland, and after hearing on Radio 4 this morning about a campaign to identify and protect Britain's remaining ancient trees, I decided to risk it.