How does your lettuce grow?

As the summer comes to a close and we are harvesting the last little bits from our garden, I came across this passage from Thich Nhat Hahn that I wanted share. This comes from his book titled Peace is Every Step:

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look into the reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change. One day in Paris, I gave a lecture about not blaming the lettuce. After the talk, I was doing walking meditation by myself, and when I turned the corner of a building, I overheard an eight-year-old girl telling her mother, ‘Mommy, remember to water me. I am your lettuce.’ I was so pleased that she had understood my point completely. Then I heard her mother reply, ‘Yes, my daughter, and I am your lettuce also. So please don’t forget to water me too.’ Mother and daughter practicing together, it was very beautiful.”

I know, especially these days, that it’s easy blame others for the state of the county or the world, but as Thich Nhat Hahn says, “blaming has no positive effect at all.” If we truly want the state of our world, our lives, or just our relationships with others to change, we need to deepen our understanding of what nourishes them. Are they getting enough water, sun, love? If not, perhaps we can help nourish them. If we are attentive gardeners, then our crops will grow well. If we neglect our crops, they will certainly suffer. Our relationships with one another are no different. We all need tending to in order to flourish.


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