◀ All Blog Posts

O.H.M.#16 - The Useless Tree by Melli O'Brien

By Charlene Lowe

MON SEP 28, 2020

O.H.M. is the acronym for Overtures Honoring Mindfulness, a collection of the written word that speaks to my heart, mind & soul.


Well there’s an old parable that can offer us some wisdom and reflection on this. It’s a parable about a tree. A useless tree.

A carpenter and his apprentice were walking together through a large forest. And when they came across a tall, huge, gnarled, old, beautiful oak tree, the carpenter asked his apprentice: “Do you know why this tree is so tall, so huge, so gnarled, so old and beautiful?” The apprentice looked at his master and said: “No...why?”

“Well,” the carpenter said, “because it is useless. If it had been useful it would have been cut long ago and made into something else. But a boat made from it would sink, a coffin would soon rot, a tool would split, a door would ooze sap, and a beam would have termites. It’s worthless timber and is of no use. That is why it has reached such a ripe old age.

And it’s exactly because it is useless that it could grow so tall, majestic and so beautiful and that you can sit in its shade and relax on a hot day. No one seems to know how useful it is to be useless like this beautiful tree.”

He went on to say “What is it to be useless? It is to be free of striving to become something, to be someone special or to prove yourself. To be useless is simply to relax as you are, to rest at ease, to abide in your true nature in an easy way.

When there is nothing to do, nothing to be, and nothing to attain; When we truly let go of any need to be a certain way, leaving everything alone, then we are truly free, like the tree.”