As a child, I sought refuge in trees.
Growing up in New York City, surrounded by cement and skyscrapers, Central Park was my refuge. I would escape there with my dog and wander through the Brambles, the most dense, forest-like part of the Park, breathing in the scent of soil and leaves.
I loved to sit with my back against the trunk of a grand oak, close my eyes and feel the strength and support of that great being.
When I share this story with friends, they smile.
They know what it feels like to find refuge, rest and renewal among the trees. We all do. It’s a universal experience. Trees are holy teachers.
Trees teach us how to be rooted and reach high simultaneously—to be nourished by both rocks and light. In their annual cycle—wherein foliage appears, decays and reappears—trees reveal the birth, death and rebirth cycle of the soul.
Rooted in the earth, while reaching into the sky, the tree reminds us of our neurological capacity to realize, embody and express spacious, radiant awareness in the grounded activities of daily life.
Remember the Buddha seated under the Bodhi Tree?
Having exhausted his outward search for fulfillment, the Buddha sat down and placed his back against a tree. In doing so, he was re-enacting an primordial human activity: taking shelter under the outstretched limbs of the tree; feeling the support of the powerful trunk.
Like all sacred symbols, these tree images are about you. They are pointing to the reality of your life—to the sacred potential of your neurology. Because, your neurology is structured for realizing, embodying, and expressing enlightened presence in, as, and through your life.
Many wisdom traditions refer to the Tree of Life, the axis mundi, the central pillar or world axis from which all life is born and which supports the Universe.
The spine is your axis mundi—the spine is the central pillar of your experience. It is the trunk from which all the branches of your neurology unfold. When you sit in meditation, you return attention to the spine; you take your seat under the sacred tree of your own neurology.
Your neurology is a sacred tree. It has the capacity to resonate with the most sublime, creative, sacred states of wisdom or the darkest, most destructive moods. Your neurological tree can bring forth the fruits of peace, love and abundance. But not if it’s left untended.
The shape of your neurology determines the quality of your experience now. Thus, the patterns of the past will continue shape your present moment, unless you care for the tree and tend a new dream.
Through the practice of meditation, you can heal, balance and transform the past. You can re-shape your neurology and care for the sacred tree, within.
You can cultivate wisdom, peace, bliss. You can dream a new dream, or you can continue to dream the dreams of the past. It’s truly a matter of choice and cultivation, which means—practice.
Through meditation practice, you return the sacred tree of your neurology to its original function: to reflect the radiance in you, through you, and as you.
Care for the tree, and it will feed you and the world with fruits of wisdom and love.
Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
Love & Shanti,
E & D
P.S. Every week Wisdom Heart Community members receive a curated video/audio/text teaching and a daily meditation—to cultivate awakening. The doors to the community will open in a few weeks. Be first to know by clicking here.
Author: Eric Klein
Images: Flickr/Pawel Pacholec; original illustration by the author
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina