There are many life lessons we can learn from nature, with specific plants having the capacity to share their virtues with us. If we listen and observe mindfully, we can draw inspiration from many of these beautiful life forces, integrating their patterns and abilities to face adversity into our own day-to-day. One of the plants we admire most for this purpose is the bamboo. With similar characteristics to the cactus, bamboo reminds us to be strong, purposeful and joyful. One of our favourite quotes about bamboo comes from Bruce Lee who said, “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending in the wind”
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the earth and can reach its full height in one single season. China has the largest bamboo planted area with the history of Chinese people planting bamboo being traced from over 7000 years ago. Bamboo was incorporated into the daily life of the Chinese people as early as the 16th – 11th century BC, used for household materials, and construction, musical instruments, clothing and more.
Spirituality and Symbolism
While there are many symbols traditionally associated bamboo such as luck, integrity and virtue, we love this plant for its ability to bend to new conditions, adapting to change while never breaking. The bamboo is one of the strongest materials and plants in any forest and the way it sways in rough winds and storms demonstrates its humility in circumstances that it can truly overcome. We work to remain humble in our grand universe, while showing our willingness to work with what comes our way.
“The warrior, like bamboo, is ever ready for action”
A beautiful quote from Aikido master Kenyo Furuya, we must be ever ready to move in our lives, and not become too comfortable in one state for too long. When we become complacent, we stop growing. Through strong practice, we remain ever ready to accept new challenges and new opportunities for love and growth.
The hollowness of the bamboo can be demonstrative of how strong we can be with a decluttered mind. We love to associate bamboo’s hollow interior to the daily practice of meditation. Clearing our internal headspace will enhance character and strength in the long run.