The Last Leaf

last-leafImagine being a leaf. You quickly grow to full size, and then spend the rest of your life in glorious greenness, waving in the breeze and soaking up the sun and the rain. Then a change occurs. You start to age. Your color begins to change. Around you, all of your friends are aging too. As far as your eyes can see, your whole species begins to radiate orange and gold and red. One by one, you see each leaf fall to the ground, dead.

They lie there decaying into brown. Thousands and thousands of dead, as far as the eye can see. You are surrounded by death and carnage and destruction. Other leaves lie scattered across the ground, heaped and layered, exposed to the elements. They no longer feel the energy of life. They simply lie there and decompose. Is there any way that you can escape the same fate?

The time has come. You are alone on a branch, withered and brittle. A gust of wind breaks your connection with the life-giving tree and you flutter to the ground to rot. Your existence is complete.

The last leaf doesn’t know about spring. The leaf doesn’t know about the cycle of life and how in a few months the temperature will rise and all of the trees will begin to sprout new leaves. The leaf doesn’t know that this has gone on for generations – birth, life, aging, death, and rebirth. Having experienced only one spring and one fall, there is no certainty that anything exists beyond the completeness of the cycle. But it does.

What do you believe about rebirth? Do you think that there is more to come, or do you believe that it all just ends? After death, is there consciousness or just a black void? Is there awareness or nothingness? I suspect that we will find out one day, one at a time or in a group. We won’t grasp the truth until we have been there.

In the meantime, how does your belief affect your life? Are you afraid of death? Does it cross your mind regularly or not at all? Do you lead your life as if death walks close behind you, or as if you have an eternity to get things done? How do you feel about the end of your physical existence?

autumn_forestTo believe in something for which there is no proof requires faith. Faith requires belief in the unknown. Faith requires letting go of logic and allowing a belief in something for which there is no logic.

Throughout our lives, we use logic to protect us, to resolve our issues, to provide for ourselves. We anticipate causality. We think sequentially. We have expectation of results. Our minds analyze and look for ways to explain things. Problem solving becomes a way of life.

What are the consequences of foregoing logic? In many circumstances, the consequences are harmful. Foregoing logic in the management of your finances can lead to some surprising bills. Not thinking logically in a time of emergency can be dangerous.

What are the consequences of believing in after-life?
If you believe and it is true, you will excitedly move through the stages of your life.
If you believe, and it isn’t true, you will never know.
If you don’t believe, and there is no after-life, then you won’t know that you were right.
If you don’t believe and it is true, you didn’t get the benefit of faith in your life.

What is the benefit in faith? I can live life with joy. I can see the stages in my life with pleasure and understanding. I can anticipate without fear. This is my belief and I share it with you. It may not be your belief and that is fine. Only you are in charge of your belief system. Me, I take a gamble. I look at the consequences of having faith and also at the benefits. Faith wins.

Are you a gambler? Before you roll the dice, remember:
Even the last leaf doesn’t know about spring.

Transformation Exercises

1. Take a walk in the woods or in a park.
2. Consider the cycle of life.
3. Sit or stand with your back against a tree and feel its energy.
4. Bring home a leaf.

Excerpted from Soulwork 101: A New Age Guide to Personal Transformation by Glenn Stewart Coles
©Copyright 2009, 2015 Glenn Stewart Coles

Add Comment