The parable of the acorn
Once upon a time an acorn fell from its mother and landed on the ground.
A foreign traveler picked it up and carried it far away from its homeland into a land with no oak trees.
Not knowing the natural patterns of an acorn, the traveler could not make it grow.
He consulted with experts to figure out what was wrong and to get it to grow.
A teacher was brought in, who imposed a standardized curriculum on the acorn. The acorn was put in a class with seeds from every other tree in the forest its same age. All seeds received the same education on how to grow.
All of the native seeds in his class grew. But the acorn did not grow.
Next, a career counselor was called. He showed the acorn all the different seeds of the forest and what they had grown into. He told the acorn he could be anything he wanted to be.
But the acorn did not grow.
A therapist met with the acorn for several weeks. She focused on a small part of the acorn that had been battered when it had fallen from its mother tree.
The acorn will not grow, she concluded, as long as it is wounded. We must heal its wound to make it grow.
So they patched it up as best as they could. But it still did not grow.
The acorn was next taken to a seminar with motivational speakers. They denounced the mediocrity of non-germination and inspired the acorn with visions of grandeur. “You are a noble seed,” they told it. “You have greatness within you,” they said.
The acorn believed them. But it did not grow.
The acorn was placed in the care of a new age guru. “All you must do,” he told the acorn, “is focus all your thoughts on growing. You attract what you think about.”
So the acorn focused all its thoughts on growing. But nothing happened.
An energy healer was brought in who spent several sessions with the acorn. “Its chakras are out of alignment,” she said.
The acorn’s chakras may have been more aligned after her work, but that did not make it grow.
The traveler gave up on the acorn. He put it on a shelf and forgot about it. Its spirit crushed, the acorn gave up on life and simply occupied space and collected dust for several years.
One day an old man visited the traveler and saw the acorn on the shelf. He picked it up carefully and with deep interest. “Do you know what this is?” he asked the traveler.
“A worthless piece of junk, if you ask me,” the traveler said. “I thought it was the seed of some tree. I picked it up years ago in my travels. I have done everything I could to make it grow. But it must be dead because it refuses to grow.”
The old man shook his head. “Oh no,” he said, “it is far from dead. This is the seed of one of the most noble trees in the world. I will show you.”
The old man took the acorn home and placed it in a pot of soil and watered it.
Every day, the traveler stopped by the old man’s house and asked if the acorn had started to grow. “Not yet,” the old man said every time. “You must give it time.”
Then one day, six weeks from the time the old man had placed the acorn in the soil, a green shoot appeared through the soil.
The traveler was ecstatic. “What did you do?” he asked.
“All I did,” the old man said, “was cultivate the right conditions for the seed to release the life that has been inside of it all along.”