ANNA PEARSE tells a beautiful story about the healing properties of trees, and encourages us all to find our relationships with the natural world that will bring us back to being in tune with Nature.
A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,”
a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself,
his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest
– a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
The delusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our
personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task is to free ourselves from this prison
by widening our circle of compassion to embrace
all living creatures and the whole Nature in its beauty.
– Albert Einstein
Sometimes it requires our extreme vulnerability to feel our oneness with the universe. Desperation can serve to open the doors of perception. Nature is always there, all around us, but our normal way is to isolate ourselves within our individuality rather than feeling that we are part of something much greater, beyond our understanding, which we can only wonder at. But she is always there – as this simple story about a human being, imprisoned by their thoughts, shows.
She had been signed off work with stress, and now here she was on this dismal autumn day walking through the park, unable to see her way forward. Her thinking was circular, repetitive, bringing her back each time to that same feeling of hopelessness and weakness. She felt she was being exploited at her work, but that no one in her work place wanted to know. They just wanted her to get on with it. And maybe it was true what her manager had said to her – that she just wasn’t up to it. And she couldn’t face that judgment. Who could she talk to? There was no one who understood, no one who had the patience to listen.
Her pace slowed as she walked off the path and onto the grass, already feeling some comfort there from the softness of the earth and the smell of damp earth. Here was a tree and she was walking towards it. Slowing right down, she noticed a large bump in the trunk around which the bark had grown, and it was just the right height to sit on. She sat and leaned her back against the rough bark. It felt right and natural to sit like that, with the back of her head also in contact with the bark.
After a while she realized that time was passing, and she felt no need to move on. Her thoughts seemed to have lost their weight and heaviness in the presence of this simple comfort. She could feel within her back the life force of the tree and something within her back was answering it. She was rooted, too, and taking her strength from the Earth, which was always there, sustaining all life. There was an energy within her flowing upwards like there was at the core of the tree. It was bringing nutrients and knowledge up from the dark Earth into the sky. The strength of this resonance calmed her at a deep level where there were no words.
There is a seed of wisdom
planted within her that
this is a general lesson about all of
Nature and our part within it.
After some time (who knows how long), she got up. She walked away from the tree feeling like a living being. Everything had changed! The colors around her had resumed their brightness. She had the strength to go on. A door had been opened within her that would be opened again and again. And eventually would stay open. She would always remember this day with reverence.
Years have passed. From time to time she goes back to visit the tree, takes others with her and tells them the story. They stroll around it, touch it, take photos, picnic around it. One time she went with love in her heart, and was shocked to the core at what she saw. All the branches had been cut back to the trunk and were lying round it. She felt pain for the tree, and then this was immediately followed by the thought that it meant she also would die soon.
But the tree was not dead. It had received drastic intervention to save its life by those who care for this park and the trees in it. There was a big lesson for her in that too. And the following spring she saw it with all its bright green leaves growing close to its bark.
She has formed a strong bond with this particular tree, which over the years has taught her so much. Although she focuses her affection on this specific tree, there is a seed of wisdom planted within her that this is a general lesson about all of Nature and our part within it.
Article by ANNA PEARSE
June 29, 2020
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