Suppose you never had seen an apple, yet are presented with apple seeds, asked to envision what apples might look like.
My guess? Neither you nor I would guess right.
Consider that watermelon seeds are softer and in some cases smaller than apple seeds, yet produce a much larger fruit than is the case with apple seeds.
Dichotomy between what fruits look like, and look of seeds that are sources of fruits is characteristic of fruits.
When it comes to vegetables, things are quite different. If you plant corn, what you get out is corn on a cob. There is more corn than initially planted, and there is need for a cob to hold all of the corn in place, but the produce looks pretty much like what it was originally was planted.
Regardless of the fact that, much to our blessing and delight of our palate, either of apples or watermelons look totally different from their seeds, encased in every apple or watermelon are new seeds, seeds that produce new generations of apples and watermelons. The fruit looks different, yet having the same nature as the seed, produces more seed for generation of more of each of each of fruit and seed.
If we apply the dichotomy between fruits and vegetables to life, we conclude that harvest from actions (seeds) sometimes look exactly like what it was that was planted (the vegetable analogy), at other times have exactly the same nature, yet look totally different (the fruit analogy).
Jobs are much more like fruit than vegetables. You go to your job, perhaps work on a computer all day, at end of the month receive a paycheck. Encased in the paycheck is means that enables your showing up at work for the next month until the next paycheck arrives (clearly we should not be spending our savings on transport and food). Encased in the paycheck is the capacity for owning a home, a car, capacity for vacations, capacity for raising children etc. The fruit produced by a job is different from actions taken on the job, yet encases capacity for continuation on the job.
Jobs are more like fruit than vegetables.
How about relationships. Let us assume genuineness in associations. If you invest in a friend or spouse, they feel enriched, have more to give, give back to you. While what exactly you get back may be different from what it was you gave, what you receive back is different only because of your peculiar circumstances.
In essence you gave good, got good back. You gave love, got love back. Gave time of day, got time back. Took the time to share a reflection or a laugh, got enriched by events or reflections in others’ lives shared with you.
Relationships are more like vegetables than fruit.
Suppose you believe in being spiritual, or are spiritual. Well then, you believe in empowering yourself spiritually, believe in disciplining yourself via engagement in various exercises, exercises such as reading or study of spiritual texts, time in prayer, meditation that enables improvements in quality of actions, and spending of time with people who share your approach to and desire for spiritual empowerment.
What is the one
commonality of spiritual empowerment?
Regardless of specific cadre of spirituality, the one commonality of spiritual empowerment is, self discipline that is outcome of self awareness. Self awareness produces insights into who you are or want to be, generates self discipline for maintenance of who you are or desire to be.
With spiritual exercises, self discipline is sown, self discipline is reaped in context of pursuit of outcomes of self awareness.
What then is value of self discipline? Absent engagement in self discipline, arrival at perseverance is impossible. The quality of ‘perseverance’ is what enables focus and strength whenever challenges are encountered in context of pursuits of worthwhile goals or causes.
Think Martin Luther, Martin Luther King Jnr., Mahatma Gandhi, Benjamin Franklin etc. Hardly you find anyone in history who achieved something worthwhile who was not characterized by perseverance at goals he or she believed worthwhile.
Spiritual exercises are more like vegetables than fruit.
Finally, consider raising of children. You feed, you clothe, you educate, you do your best to prepare for life. Say you are a Catholic Christian who works as a medical doctor. Then your child becomes an Evangelical Mainline Protestant Christian who works as an engineer.
The seed and the fruit look totally different. Encased in that person you have produced, however, is seed for production and raising of your grandchildren. There is seed because your son or daughter has exactly the same nature as yourself. The fruit looks different from the seed, yet encased in the fruit are seeds that produce the next generation of fruit. And then on and on it goes.
Raising of children is more like fruits than vegetables. But by themselves, can the fruit ever be better than generating seeds?
How many more activities of life like fruit or vegetables can you come up with? Would love to hear about it.