Treasures and Ripples

By Becky Keller, Orangutan Coach - There are many treasures in the world in which we live. There are the seven wonders of the world which include the Great Wall of China, the Chichén Itzá in Mexico, and the Taj Mahal in India. There are some treasures that are considered “lost” like the Ark of the Covenant and some of the Romanov Easter Eggs. There are yet even more that are considered “hidden” such as the lost treasure of the Alamo. If you are lucky enough to have seen or looked for any of these treasures, you have probably experienced and felt much joy as there is usually much beauty surrounding treasures. Which, of course, means that they will mean different things to different people. People will experience different things when encountering the same treasures. People will see different things when looking at the same treasures. 

Treasure chest

The Qigong that I study, and practice talks about three treasures. There is the treasure of “the Teachings”, the treasure of “the Teachers” and the third treasure of “the Practitioners”. All are honored. I find those three treasures applicable across all walks of life…across all disciplines and common to life in general.

The “Teachings” or the knowledge of how the world functions and survives is there for us to learn at any time and in any way it comes to us or as we find it. It is passed on from one generation to another through formal and informal education, by chance, and by experience. Regardless of how we obtain these teachings or knowledge of our own world, we then become the ones who have the honor (and responsibility) to care for it and to pass it along to the next generation. Granted, there are some teachings that we don't want to pass along…our mistakes (i.e., the teachings from which we probably learned the most). Those are still beneficial and from which others can also learn – they may even have the most value when we learn something that we really don’t like – especially about ourselves.

I've always marveled at how animals pass on their teachings. How orangutans in the rain forest always know exactly where the fruit trees are located, what trees are fruiting, when to go there and the exact spot of where the best fruit is in the middle of a vast, expansive rain forest. There are thousands of trees and probably hundreds of different fruit trees. How does an orangutan know where to go? How does the mother (usually) teach her offspring where to find those trees so they will know as well, where to find food as they grow up and leave her side? Humans pass on their knowledge verbally, in written form, make maps, or use electronic devices to find things all over the world. Orangutans live in the rain forests of Indonesia.

Orangutan mom and baby

If you have visited orangutans in the wild and/or visited a rehabilitation center for animals, you may see a few of them imitating the humans who provide them care daily. Animal caregivers of today, however, make extra efforts to ensure animals, when rehabilitated, are placed into situations and areas where they can learn from each other, rather than from their human caregivers.

Honor the teachings, respect the teachers, guide the practitioners as they are the ones who become the next teachers. It takes all three to maintain treasures to ensure the world is sustained; that life continues, gets better and continues to grow and improve.
The Teachings in my Qigong practice come from an ancient lineage of discipline studied and passed down and on by many. The teachings that come from the rain forest have the same history. Dr. Gary Shapiro, the founder of the OrangUtan Republik Foundation (OURF), has spent almost his entire life studying orangutans. He has learned many “Teachings” that, as a teacher, he now passes down to his team of volunteers, college students (to which OURF provides funding), as well as the public. He established a foundation for the teachings surrounding orangutan conservation so he could pass this down to others. He studied and continues to study orangutans and their rain forest habitat where he lived for a short time and now returns to on a regular basis. He works to conserve the very rain forest in which orangutans and other animals live who pass on their teachings to their students or practitioners.

As a teacher, the work, or teachings, of Dr. Gary Shapiro matters. But if he had no practitioners or students or volunteers to which to pass on his teachings – it would most likely not matter for long as it would become “too late”.

As volunteers or as maybe new readers of this article and thus those learning something or thinking about something for the first time, YOU…WE matter. Because unless there is someone to whom the information can be passed – the information becomes a void. Someone must recognize the value of the teachings and then turn around and pass it along to the next one in line – regardless of age, station in life or even species.

The Indonesian students who receive scholarships so they can learn about the habitat in which they live, are studying teachings in college; the volunteers who tirelessly spend their own time and money assisting people and animals who cannot do for themselves…all are treasures. Each of us as a volunteer becomes a teacher that's a treasure. The treasures become intimately intertwined with each other. The teachings, the teachers, the practitioners become so connected they are unable to be separated. As a volunteer we teach to everyone that we talk to about orangutans in the rain forest; everyone to whom we present information become teachers of teachings that have not only been passed on BY Gary but also been passed on TO Gary. The rain forests and orangutans of been around since the beginning of time. I hope, until whenever the end of time is, they will continue to be there so life in that habitat so important to the health of the world is sustained. That's where all three parts of the treasures – the teachings, the teachers, and the practitioners – are showcased as vital.

Every time we teach whether it's one person, a hundred people or an impromptu conversation in the middle of a grocery store trying to choose a cereal for your breakfast table, you are passing on the teachings of conservation of orangutans and their rain forest habitat. It may be the opportunity to volunteer at a community fair with people who approach your table or people admiring your photographs that you took while hiking your favorite trail or talking to a group of children in a classroom or a conference – in every circumstance – YOU matter. You make a difference. You are passing on the teachings that you have been given and that you have learned. Making that connection with and for others makes a difference. You and your life make a difference. Sit and think about that for a minute. That should feel pretty good. Enjoy that feeling. Grow it.

YOU are your most important treasure. Honor you. It is undisputed that waves in the oceans continue for miles regardless of whether we can see how far they go by watching only the water. Our action and connections are the same. And whether someone wants to dispute it or not, we each make a difference as our own ripples flow effortlessly into the universe just like those waves in the ocean.

Make your ripples, your teachings, your knowledge, what you have learned – count. It’s your passion. If you need a little help in figuring out where your ripples are going – if they are flowing out in many different directions – let me know. I love to talk to people about their ripples and would be honored to help you clearly see the direction in which you want them to flow. 😊

ocean waves

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Orangutan Coach