Five Olive Trees


They had been coming to our meditation classes for quite a long time and described themselves as Persian, not Iranian –  they had immigrated from Tehran and seen many terrible things. We liked them very much and they and our class team met often. Hamid had dark wavy hair and looked like a film star – his wife Shiree had unusually deep, hypnotic eyes and you would look into them as though looking into a limpid ocean, trying to see what lay in the depths. They were both very spiritual and were in turn most animated and most attentive when we talked of our path, of remarkable experiences, encounters with masters.

Our new friends were quite wealthy and spent many months looking for a house to buy. After almost a year of fruitless searching, Hamid was very disheartened by the endless succession of overpriced houses, setbacks, dubious real estate agents and haggling. Thoroughly despondent, he sat in a park one day and talked to God. He remembered a grove of olive trees in his childhood home and how he would lie beneath the summer boughs laden with their pale fruits. “Somewhere on this planet”  he said to God,”can you not find me a home? Find me a home with five olive trees in the garden and I will take this as a sign, as your gift and your love for us”.

One month later they looked at a place outside of their preferred area in a small town 45 minutes north of Auckland. It was just an impulse. But the price was very good, the owner extremely nice, a garden ran down to a quiet stream and there were native birds everywhere. The owner said to them “Recently, a month ago, I had a strange urge. I am not fond of gardening and spend little time outside, but I found myself wanting to plant five olive trees in the garden. Why olive trees, why only five, and why would I feel this sudden inner prompting? But I obeyed the strange impulse and planted them. Here they are”. Yes, there they were, God’s five olive trees, a little grove of young plantings in the back garden, only a month old.

Hamid bought the house immediately, his heart singing. He and Shiree planted a sixth olive tree as thanks and as their acknowledgement, and they have given their olive grove a Persian name which translates roughly as ‘dream fulfilling sanctuary’.

They are very happy there. When we say goodbye to them, they say another very short  Persian word that means ‘I  submit myself to all that is beautiful in you’.