Friday, January 21, 2011

Trees of Peace

I've thought often over the past few days about a chapter I read last week in The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger. She's a Canadian botanist and medical biochemist whose expertise is the medicinal, environmental, and nutritional properties of trees.

The aforementioned chapter, "The Trees and the Forests of the World Exist in God," describes one woman's journey (hers?) into the forest where she feels the sweet sensation of peace (pp. 26-7):
     Like a soft, sweet, summer rain she became submerged in the stillness of the place. She was aware that it was all around her and it was coming from the trees because it was a part of them....
     Prayer started to leaven inside her. It rose up into her mouth.... The prayers themselves became one with the trees of the forest.... Lulled by such peace she leaned into it. Her body moved forward a touch. The prayer and its meditation filled her up.... She became adjunct to her own peace. It was the peace of the universe. This peace was smooth and it was soft. It fed itself into all spaces. It was in the trees. It was of the trees, the trees of the forest.
     Suddenly she became conscious of something else transpiring. This had been going on, for how long, she did not know, but she became aware of it with a new reality, a new understanding that surprised her. As she had leaned her body toward the trees in the full lull of peace, the trees, all of them, had lured thmselves, too, toward her, in a conspiracy of one another. As she prayed and meditated into their combined peace, the trees had done the same. They had been leaning their trunks toward her also. She realized with a start that the trees were praying, too. The trees and the forest were praying too because both of them shared the same God.
This passage touched something in me because it describes how I feel living in the middle of the woods. It is so peaceful here--and sacred--that when friends and family come to visit they unwind into deep relaxation.

I enjoy practicing my T'ai Chi Chih here in the middle of the forest because its peace and silence is amazingly conducive to quiet prayer and meditation. And I feel that my relationship with the trees is deep and abiding. As one neighbor said recently, "I don't feel like I love the trees (which I'm sure he does) but that they love me."

I delved into this evening's TCC practice long after the trees had disappeared into darkness. The scenery before me was my own slight reflection in the window. I missed the trees because it is they--not I--that calm, quiet, and inspire me.

No comments: