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The Trouble Tree

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to explore a story called The Trouble Tree. So once upon a time, a young man hired an elderly carpenter to help him build his first home for his wife and his growing family. So on the very first day of the job, the old carpenter had a particularly rough day. It seemed that everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

On the way to work, he got a flat tire which made him an hour late to work. Then his electric saw broke down. He had to use slower tools. And after a series of misfortunes, at the end of the day, his truck refused to start. As the young man drove the carpenter home, carpenter sat in a gloomy silence.

When they arrived at the old man's house, he invited the young man in to meet his family. And as they walked towards the front door, the carpenter paused briefly at a large tree, touched the trunk with both hands with his eyes closed and then walked to the front and opened it. And at that moment, he seemed to have a profound transformation. He greeted his wife with a warm smile and a hug and a kiss. His children were there and he embraced them.

He laughed and he joked. He seemed fine. The next day, the young man was pondering that carpenter's quick transformation in mood and asked him, "What happened yesterday with that tree? You were in a terrible mood and you touched the tree and everything changed." The old man explained, "Oh, that's my trouble tree. I know I can't help having problems in life, having misfortunes, having bad days and bad moods. And sometimes it does all get me down.

But there's one thing that I've learned in my life and that's that I don't have to bring all these troubles home to my family and then miss out on precious time with my wife and my children. So I just hand my troubles over to the trouble tree every afternoon, so that when I come home, I can be present with the people I love." He said then, "I try to pick them up, the troubles the next morning when I leave the house, but the funny thing is whenever I come out in the morning, some of them had disappeared and the other ones never really so big as they seem the day before." So what's the moral of this story? We have a lot more choice in carrying around our troubles than we often realize. We often keep our troubles alive by continuing to ruminate on them over and over and over again, unnecessarily. When we give our worries and problems so much access to our attention, it really lowers our mood and helps us, or holds us back, rather, from being truly present, relaxed and enjoying our lives. So what if like this carpenter, we set up a time every day to set down our troubles, just be present for a while.

It could be during our morning walk or the commute home from work. It could be during your evening meal with your family. If we find ourselves dwelling again on our problems during that time, we can give ourselves permission to drop it again, just be present, knowing that if we want to, we can pick it up afterwards. But right now we give ourselves some space to simply be. So if this practice sounds like it might have some value or some resonance for you, my invitation is to choose a time today to try this out.

If you find it valuable, then you can repeat it again and see what effect it has on the rest of your life. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here. Let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

The Trouble Tree

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to explore a story called The Trouble Tree. So once upon a time, a young man hired an elderly carpenter to help him build his first home for his wife and his growing family. So on the very first day of the job, the old carpenter had a particularly rough day. It seemed that everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

On the way to work, he got a flat tire which made him an hour late to work. Then his electric saw broke down. He had to use slower tools. And after a series of misfortunes, at the end of the day, his truck refused to start. As the young man drove the carpenter home, carpenter sat in a gloomy silence.

When they arrived at the old man's house, he invited the young man in to meet his family. And as they walked towards the front door, the carpenter paused briefly at a large tree, touched the trunk with both hands with his eyes closed and then walked to the front and opened it. And at that moment, he seemed to have a profound transformation. He greeted his wife with a warm smile and a hug and a kiss. His children were there and he embraced them.

He laughed and he joked. He seemed fine. The next day, the young man was pondering that carpenter's quick transformation in mood and asked him, "What happened yesterday with that tree? You were in a terrible mood and you touched the tree and everything changed." The old man explained, "Oh, that's my trouble tree. I know I can't help having problems in life, having misfortunes, having bad days and bad moods. And sometimes it does all get me down.

But there's one thing that I've learned in my life and that's that I don't have to bring all these troubles home to my family and then miss out on precious time with my wife and my children. So I just hand my troubles over to the trouble tree every afternoon, so that when I come home, I can be present with the people I love." He said then, "I try to pick them up, the troubles the next morning when I leave the house, but the funny thing is whenever I come out in the morning, some of them had disappeared and the other ones never really so big as they seem the day before." So what's the moral of this story? We have a lot more choice in carrying around our troubles than we often realize. We often keep our troubles alive by continuing to ruminate on them over and over and over again, unnecessarily. When we give our worries and problems so much access to our attention, it really lowers our mood and helps us, or holds us back, rather, from being truly present, relaxed and enjoying our lives. So what if like this carpenter, we set up a time every day to set down our troubles, just be present for a while.

It could be during our morning walk or the commute home from work. It could be during your evening meal with your family. If we find ourselves dwelling again on our problems during that time, we can give ourselves permission to drop it again, just be present, knowing that if we want to, we can pick it up afterwards. But right now we give ourselves some space to simply be. So if this practice sounds like it might have some value or some resonance for you, my invitation is to choose a time today to try this out.

If you find it valuable, then you can repeat it again and see what effect it has on the rest of your life. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here. Let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

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