We are all familiar with the unflattering expression, "He can't see
the forest for the trees". Similarly, it can be said that most of us
don't see the tree for the leaves. We fail to see the Tree of Life
because we are fascinated by the leaves. We are so obsessed by
millions of little fragments of foilage that we are not aware of the
tree at all. We do not see that without the tree the leaves do not
have any life -- that it is the sap, coming from the very life of the
tree, that flows into the leaves and supports them.
In the modern world most of the emphasis is on separateness, on the
leaf rather than the tree. Every day in countless ways we receive the
message, 'Find your joy in your own way, find your life in your own
way, find your fulfillment in your own way.' This drive for personal
satisfaction is based on complete fiction: that the leaf can prosper
without the living tree.
-- Eknath Easwaran, more at http://www.nilgiri.org
(One of his better-known books, Your Life Is Your Message, took its
title from an incident in Gandhi’s life. An American reporter came up
to Gandhi at his train window and asked breathlessly for a message to
take back to his people. Gandhi scrawled some words on a piece of
paper and handed it back as the train pulled out of the station.
The paper read, “My life is my message.”)