Meditation and Healing: Tree Meditation
by Curt Remington
Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
Not long after writing an article with a tree meditation, I spent a day backcountry skiing, between Nooksack Ridge and Mt Shuksan, in a drizzling rain. After a number of miles of gradual climbing, I found myself in a remote stand of fir trees, miles from anyone, fully enjoying the solitude. As I rested, I tuned into the patter of rain on my hood, the wind gently blowing through the trees and the damp, fresh smell of the woods.
Inspired to meditate, my plan was to try the tree meditation described in my article, “Meditation to Connect with Nature”. Before starting on that meditation, I got to thinking about the trees surrounding me. My first thought was that it would be awfully boring be to be stuck in one place, as a tree, in such a remote forest.
As the focal point for my meditation, I decided to imagine myself as one of the straight and strong fir trees that stood above me. This was similar to my earlier tree meditation, but with a different focus. Rather than imagining myself on a stump and running the energy of the tree, I simply imagined being a tree and all the details that go with it. From that perspective, I realized that a tree might look at life completely differently, perfectly content to stand firmly, deeply rooted to the Earth. Rocking gently with a light breeze. A tree wouldn’t be bored. It would always be in the now, just experiencing.
I also became aware that if you really paid attention, there is a lot to experience, even in a remote section of woods. As a tree, you’d notice the changes in weather, with a rain soaking your branches on a day like this one. On some days you might relish the morning sun, as it warms your branches, steaming off the morning dew. On other days, strong winds might howl and cause you to sway and bend. Constantly outdoors, you’d never miss a spectacular sunset or a moonlit night.
For company, there are countless neighboring trees swaying alongside, along with birds, squirrels and insects that make a home in your branches. Deer would come to nibble on your new growth, and an occasional bear may come to sharpen its claws.
Those claws are probably what brought me out of my meditation, momentarily forgetting that the bears were still peacefully hibernating.
I finished feeling refreshed and with a new perspective on trees. Even with a greater appreciation for their life, I still appreciated my own mobility, so I pushed off with my poles and skied down the hill, towards the dry comfort of my car.
While I wrung out my gloves and loaded my gear, I decided this experience was worthy of a new blog article. I hope you agree. You don’t have to be standing in the woods to try this form of meditation. In fact, you could try a variation, imagining life as a wolf, an eagle, or even a rock, a creek or whatever.
As you may have noticed, the picture of Nooksack Ridge was taken on a different, sunny day. It’s a few miles from where I was skiing, and it does have lots of trees. The picture at the top of my blog is Mt Shuksan, also just a few miles from my life as a tree experience.