Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hurray for the Trees!

An ancient tree is more than a beautiful plant, it is our wise teacher and guide.  Each of us can think of a moment when we felt a sense of being overcome with the beauty of an ancient tree upon entering the cathedral of an ancient forest.  The feeling grips us immediately; we are in awe.  So many of us then react by pulling out our cameras or cell phones and quickly posing ourselves or companions in front of these ancient creatures and snapping a few photos as we take a quick loop then move on to the next "attraction."  Not too many of us, linger, sit beneath our teacher and ask for some of it's wisdom.  If you do, I urge that you will be richly rewarded.

I have a friend who received a vision that God is a tree.  I am not disinclined to believe her.  Or perhaps, God is in everything, and if we take a moment to listen to the lessons of the ancients, we become closer to God.  After all, Adam and Eve dwelled in a garden and their lives and their fall from this original home are significantly intertwined with the tree-- the "tree of life", the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil."  Buddha receives his enlightenment sitting beneath the Bodhi Tree.  And the American Indians worship nature, traditionally living within, and not against, the natural rhythms of Nature.

I've stopped watching television.  It has been about five years now.  From time to time, when I visit a friend or family member, or I catch a glimpse of television at a public place, I am suddenly assaulted by the speed, the tone and the flashiness flickering across the screen.  It is not natural.  And it does not teach the lessons of the Ancients.  To me it is hollow, and hollowing.  I become discouraged, my thoughts distracted.  There is no Holy here.  There is no enlightenment.

The calendar tells us it is the beginning of a new year.  Yet winter still caries us through our natural little death until we are reborn in the spring.  For me, this is a time of finishing my resting, but anticipating the energy of rebirth.  I indulge my introspectiveness knowing that soon will be the time to follow through with the new year's rebirth.

This year, I would like to encourage you, all of my friends, to also indulge your own introspection and to turn to our ancient teachers, the lovely trees.  Go to a park such as in Big Sur or Big Basin, Grant Ranch or Sanborn.  Take a walk in your neighborhood.  Or go sit beneath the ancient tree in your own yard.  Touch it and, yes, speak to it.  Open up and it will communicate back!

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