Plants Teach Us So Much About Behavior.

A couple of weeks ago the flowering plants in my balcony blossomed beautiful flowers. Once in full bloom I plucked them and offered them to Gopal – Krishna in the form of Shaligram as part of my daily prayer. What happened next is a lesson in behavior from the humble plant. It made me think about various roles we play in life, the interplay between those roles and responsibilities, our relationships and destructive and constructive behaviors.

I’ve been observing the plants since then, especially the stems from where I’d plucked the beautiful flowers. I saw them wither for a bit, then recuperate and I now see that on the Rose plant the stems that were laid bare are now sprouting leaves. On the other plant a beautiful flower has emerged in place of the one I had plucked.


This morning, as I sat in my balcony watching the sun rise and sipping my morning coffee, I had a realization which helped me to relate observations about life, people, how we treat each other and how we can choose to react when we face life changing situations or circumstances.

Take the flowers. We plant them, we provide nourishment by way of fertile soil, water and place them in sunlight. All essential to enable the plants to sprout beautiful flowers, so colorful, so pleasing to the eye and possibly fragrant as well.

The flowers initially start as little buds which start opening up as the flowers grow and then finally the flowers emerge in their full splendor.

What do we do then? We have two options, we allow them to wither, or then we pluck them for our own use. Let's draw a parallel of this to our lives with a few examples. 
nurture and care

Don’t we nurture our children in the same way as grow or nurture plants? And then as they go through life they will face what the beautiful flowers face.

They are exposed to the real world, as they are now adults and in full bloom. The experiences that they go through in life make or break them. They can either be exposed and experience beautiful moments or then they can face adversities and be exploited as we exploit flowers using them for our advantage and then discarding them, as they may possibly wither and die just as the flower dies once its separated from the plant that nurtured it.

Let’s also take relationships, be they personal or professional. We deal with relationships falling back on inherent or influenced destructive or constructive behaviors. In personal relationships, we are often used or we end up extracting all that is good and pure from our partners, significant others or associates and when we are done, some of us discard them and seek other things of beauty, leaving the party of the other half sad, forlorn, damaged and hurt. Sometimes irreparably. Unfortunately some of us do this fully well knowing what the fallout will be.

Doesn’t this also often times happen on the corporate or professional front? We hire, train, groom and nurture our proteges, our resources, only to discard them once we’ve extracted the creative and productive juices from them? Don’t employees also in a similar vein do the same. Take up jobs, use them as springboards and then jump ship for grass that seems greener on the other side of the fence?

Whereas this is an inevitable part of life, a perpetual cycle, I’d look to the plant that the flowers were plucked from and learn from the humble plant that cannot cry out in pain when their flowers have been uprooted. What do they do? How do they react? They wither for a bit (suffer as we do) and fall back on the soil, water and sun to overcome the pain and start the process of regeneration once again. So that’s the destructive and constructive behavior examples from plants.

Parents, well-wishers, mentors, friends are all like plants, insofar as they sometimes need to see their kids, friends, mentees, significant others get plucked and wither away, when they fall upon bad times, or bad association, or bad habits. They can see trouble on the horizon for the ones they love and yet, sometimes are so helpless to do much about it.

Many people we know are like the flowers. They are nurtured, they grow, they blossom, only to be plucked away by undesirable conditions, be they influences, social indoctrination, social pressures, family pressures or even personal choices and end up making foolish choices that are surely not conducive to a brighter life.

The Influence Spectrum

So what advice can I give to both plants and flowers, To personify them, plants are parents, those who nurture friends, relationships and flowers being the ones who run the risk of being plucked, used, exposed, exploited or then willfully and wantonly exposing themselves to risk and disaster.

For those playing the role of the ones doing the nurturing, I'd say lick your wounds, fall back on things that help us restore and rejuvenate and prepare to continue our chosen mission of being the ones to do the nurturing. Especially as parents, give your kids the love, upbringing, values, emotional, spiritual and educational nourishment that your kids (flowers) will surely need as they navigate life. You have a great responsibility and play a fundamental role in ensuring that the seeds we plant become our responsibility and we are accountable for their well being and future.

For the flowers, remember how you were nurtured and fall back on that when faced with adversity and come out on top of the situation or circumstances. Don’t needlessly and foolishly be exposed to what you know will be detrimental to you and to those around you. Finally, don’t end up compromising what could possibly be a bright future by taking impulsive decisions, some of which cannot be undone. The modern day snare is the influences from social media that are often misleading and disrupt lives adversely. Instant gratification is a myth, get that into your head. It takes hard work to get where you want to get.

Harsh but valuable advise…..if you find that your circumstances, foundations, social circle or social indoctrination aren’t conducive for you to grow and bloom, be prepared to take hard decisions to discard all that is not conducive to what is best for you.

Some of the most toxic people in our lives come disguised as family and friends and therefore its hard to overcome these influences due to our attachment to such people. What ends up happening is that we oftentimes sacrifice ourselves for the very people who contribute so heavily in preventing us from flourishing and even dragging us down as they continue on their downward spiral.

Don’t willingly and knowingly harm or cause harm to others by your words, actions and decisions, for when we hurt ourselves, we also end up hurting people who care about us and are concerned about our well being.

The humble, silent and resilient plants, standing quietly, enduring all kinds of weather, does nurture and sprout beautiful flowers. Lets’ learn from the humble plant.

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