Bamboo has long been a source of inspiration. Bruce Lee drew on the imagery of bamboo when he offered this advice: “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
This advice not only applies to martial arts, but to life. If Bruce Lee hadn’t been as strong and flexible as a bamboo reed, he wouldn’t have radically changed the world of martial arts and become the national hero that he is today.
So, how does bamboo’s strength and flexibility inspire us to excellence?
Symbol of Strength
First, let’s look at bamboo’s strength. The wood of bamboo is incredibly strong and is stronger than steel and concrete. This strength allows bamboo to stand up straight even though it’s a thin reed.
Additionally, its interconnected root system enhances bamboo’s status as paragon of strength. To explain, bamboo is a grass so its root system grows horizontally through the dirt, intertwining with the roots around it. Since the roots spread out rather than growing straight down, bamboo holds the soil together. This keeps bamboo from being uprooted during a storm and even prevents soil erosion.
If we look at each of these characteristics, we can better understand how we can develop strength in our own lives. For example, if we stand upright and defend our principles, our inner strength will become stronger and stronger with each passing day. If our roots are interconnected, we can draw on the strength of good friends and family to help us weather any of life trials. Our strength can even strengthen the world around us, helping our communities endure the test of time.
Symbol of Flexibility
However, strength alone is not enough as Bruce Lee clearly illustrated in his quote above. You also need to be flexible in order to adapt to the world around you. If you rely only on strength, you will eventually splinter and break. If you are strong and flexible, you will be able to adapt to even the harshest of circumstances.
For instance, bamboo’s flexibility allows it to bend with the wind as a storm rages. No matter what direction the wind is coming from, bamboo is able to adapt. It’s strong enough to remain grounded while flexible enough not to break from the pressure. That’s why bamboo is the ideal model; it tempers strength with flexibility.
Symbol of Health
Since bamboo is the perfect combination of strength and flexibility, it has come to represent harmony and balance in one’s life. As such, it is considered lucky in many Asian cultures. In fact, many people give bamboo as a house warming gift to bring good health to the recipient.
However, bamboo doesn’t only symbolize good health; it can actually make you healthier. Bamboo is antibacterial and if you use bamboo products, you can enjoy the benefits of this amazing quality. There’s bamboo furniture, bamboo clothing, and even bamboo bedding that can all make your life healthier.
For example, 100% bamboo sheets improve your health because they significantly reduce the amount of bacteria in your bed. According to a study in the Journal of Family Ecology and Consumer Sciences, bamboo sheets kill between 59.5% and 74.8%of bacteria after only 24 hours.
If you want to discover more about the health benefits of bamboo, read Cozy Earth Bamboo Sheets Keep Germs out of Your Bed.
In summary, bamboo is a symbol of strength, flexibility, and health. Its strength teaches us to stand upright and its flexibility teaches us to adapt to the harshest circumstances. The combination of these virtues teaches us how to find balance and inner peace in our lives, in turn improving our health. Bamboo is even able to improve our health in practical ways. By following the example of bamboo, we will develop the skills needed to successfully navigate the journey of life.