How to obey a tree

Obedience: from the Latin “ob audire”: To listen with the ear of the heart

To understand the true meaning of the word obedience, and to perceive just a little more of the Truth of a tree (or flower, or houseplant or being of your choice), try this meditation.

When you take the time and offer love through your attention, you may learn that a tree is a universe in itself. It transforms water, sunlight, minerals and other substances into shade, oxygen, scent, mass. It provides food, shelter, structure, stage for all manner of small creatures.

If you sit quietly enough, curious enough, and relax what you think you know, maybe you can begin to feel the tree’s presence.

Choose a place where you can sit relatively undisturbed. It’s ideal to sit close to your tree, but through a window works too.

Start by noticing what you think you know about the tree. We’ve already given it the name of “tree”, and perhaps further refined it’s name by species.

Laying hands on a tree
Tree love

Next, try forgetting its names, and perceiving it again with eyes and heart, mind and body.

Bring your attention into your heart, perhaps by placing a hand there, and just feel. Notice, too, the sensations in the whole body. Feel your connection with the Earth through your feet or seat, even if you are on a chair or cushion. Let your body feel the heaviness of gravity pulling you to Earth.

Use your imagination to grow roots and let your roots intermingle with the roots of the tree. Feel your head and spine reaching to the sky, and sense your breath intermingling with the tree’s respiration process. Maybe you’ll sense the tree’s heartbeat.

If you are close enough, lay a hand on the tree’s trunk, or touch a leaf. Make your touch a caress.

And then just be quiet and curious.

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