As he awoke on this clear and mild spring day, he decided to venture into the forest that is close to his house as he felt the need to spend a bit of time in nature, a place where he felt the most comfortable. Less noise, less hectic and less complexity, just the luxury of bathing in nature’s simplicity.
He got out of bed, got dressed, put on his hiking boots and went out the door. A slight breeze was blowing that morning. It was his favorite time of the day. Everything wakes up, going about its business and life was granted another day of being and this morning had something very special, he felt it.
He knew this forest since he was a child, there, among the trees and bushes, snails and bugs, lives his childhood, a part of his life he never wants to miss, a place where treehouses were built, trees climbed and bows crafted. Every time he went in there, a warm, fuzzy feeling spread in his body and he felt deeply at peace. It was as if the forest sent him an invitation every time he ventured in there.
He walked his usual route until he discovered a path that he never noticed before, which was quite surprising to him, as he knew this forest quite well.
Curious as he is, he chose to walk onto the newly discovered path in front of him. He kept walking until he arrived at a small clearing. He looked around and walked a few more steps until his eyes took in the shapes and forms of a tree that looked quite different from the ones that surrounded that tree. It was a very old tree with a very large tree trunk. The tree’s branches grew squiggled and interwoven, giving the tree a very mysterious appearance. The tree’s bark was covered in moss which looked quite inviting and since he was somehow still tired he decided to rest, sitting underneath the tree, his back leaned against it and closed his eyes.
As he closed his eyes and shut out the world around him, focusing solely on the silence that filled the forest that day, he noticed a strange sensation. It felt as if the tree was pulsating, like a beating heart. At first, it felt strange but soon enough did he notice the sense of calm it produced in him.
“This tree is something special.” He thought to himself.
“You aren’t the first one thinking that.”
The young man jumped up in the blink of an eye, frantically looking around, trying to locate someone who was speaking to him. Only when he looked around, did he realize that nobody was there and that the words spoken to him appeared to him through some sort of magic trick he didn’t understand, as the words weren’t directly spoken, but transmitted as thoughts.
“This is impossible, this can’t be!”
He didn’t know if he should be afraid or amazed and the cocktail of adrenaline and dopamine flooding his blood streams didn’t make it any easier for him to decide which emotion he should grant dominance at this moment. So he just stood there, feeling as if he was enrooted in the ground, unable to move.
“No need to be afraid my friend, many people have that reaction when they meet me.”
Again! This tree spoke to him, again!
There was not a trace of a doubt left in him, this tree was indeed talking to him! He still didn’t understand how it worked, but it worked and that was the only thing that interested him at that moment and his anxious attitude vanished into absolute astonishment.
“You can sit down again my friend, I am not a threat to you.”
Still a little unsure, he accepted the offer and sat down again, leaning against the soft cushion of moss. As he sat down, the tree shook its branches as if he was excited about the new visitor.
It was a weird feeling, talking by using his mind and even weirder to talk to a tree, but he always knew that the world is full of mysterious things that we haven’t even touched upon yet and a deep sense of excitement arose within him, as he jumped into what could only be the adventure of a lifetime.
“So.. umm, you can speak?”
“Everything is speaking, everything has a language of its own and can be understood if one has the ears to listen.”
He didn’t know what to say and just remained silent, awestruck by the fact that he was somehow talking to a tree.
“I see, you are quite amazed, not only by the fact that I can speak but also by how I go about doing so.”
“Yes, that is definitely true and right now I got this strange feeling like everything is a dream. Is this actually happening or am I still asleep?”
“No, you are not in your bed anymore, but technically the dream doesn’t end when you wake up in the morning, it just changes into something different, something more tangible and ‘real’ than the dreams you have at night.”
He leaned against the tree and still noticed how tense he was and how fast his heart was beating and for a few moments there was silence between both of them, not an awkward silence, but a rich one, a full one, one that both of them seem to thoroughly enjoy and they remained silent for a while until his enrooted friend started talking again:
“Something seems to trouble you in some way, doesn’t it?”
He was surprised by the question since when were trees able to talk much less able to sense and feel?
“Yeah, this is true, but how did you notice that?”
“Well, if you’re visited by others of your kind you kind of develop a feel for what goes on inside them, so that wasn’t hard for me to guess. So, what is it, that troubles you so much?”
“I don’t know where to start if I’m honest. It’s not that I don’t know what troubles me so much, but that there are quite many things that do and I’m busy trying to make sense of them in some way.”
“Busy, hmm? You, humans, are always busy, always doing something, rushing here, getting there, how about resting and relaxing for once? Take a few deep breaths of air and just be here, allow yourself to just rest here. Things get clear when there is clarity established within yourself, begin with that and see where it gets you.”
He stretched his tense body and filled his lungs with the pristine, fresh air filling the forest and he could feel himself relaxing with every round of inhaling and exhaling until all tensions present in him dissolved and made room for a deep sense of calm that filled every cell of his body, until he was so relaxed, that it felt like he melted with the ground and the tree he was leaning against, making him feel deeply grounded and present.
“Ahhh, much better! That is, what I am talking about! So now that you are a little more relaxed, you might be a lot clearer about what troubles you the most.”
He remained silent for a few moments, trying to point to the things within himself that troubled him deeply and after a few moments he said:
“I am anxious and confused. Anxious about the things happening in the world, so much violence, so much fear, so much suffering and I try my best to see a deeper meaning behind them happening and on the other hand, I am confused if there is actually a place for me in a world where I often feel alien and somehow misplaced.”
The tree shook its branches again and a beautiful big leaf fell into his lap. He picked it up and inspected it from every angle, fascinated by the structure of the leaf’s veins that in themselves looked like a tree.
After a moment of silence, the tree started speaking again:
“I see and I understand your concern, but let me explain something to you, dear friend. Humanity as a whole and trees have a lot in common, probably much more than you would think at first.
I am a tree and as such, I am made of branches, roots, bark, leaves and many other things. Now, if my leaves get sick and fall off too soon, I lose vital energy that sustains my existence and I grow weak and I may get very ill as a result of that. Although a single leaf, like the one you’re holding in your hands, isn’t a very big part of me, it is, after all, part of an essential network of energy for me. If one leaf gets sick, chances are that many others will follow and in turn, I, as a whole, will suffer sickness.
The same principle can be applied to humanity. Regard the earth as a branch growing on the tree of life, and the leaves of that branch as the whole of humanity. The world is ill and grows weak because the most advanced species, the most influential one, is growing ill and weak within themselves. The damage that you see in the world, is really a sickness happening in your species, the things out there are only symptoms, the cause lives inside of you.
So the most important thing you, as s single leaf can do, is to regain your spirit, your health, and your most natural joy and to let the world have a share of these things in some way, as by regaining them and sharing them with others who may have grown weak, they too may gain the strength to heal and to prosper and the collective network of which you are an essential part of, can regain its balance and the earth can be healed.
But humans suffer from a great deception that lies at the root of their ills. They see everything as separate. They pick the world apart and miss the intrinsic unity that is at the heart of the world and themselves. Just take a look at all those trees around you, they are a great example of how you perceive the world.
On the surface, we may seem to be separated from each other, standing for ourselves, untouched by the ones around us and yet, if you dig just a little deeper, you will discover, that beneath the surface, our roots form a network of communication. We trees communicate just as you as humans do, we just use a language quite different from yours. But humans can’t see that, they live, for the most part, on the surface of things, only to never discover the depth of what is in front of them and how deeply it is all connected.
So if one of us gets sick, the other trees notice that through the network our roots establish and we immediately support that tree. Our strength as trees doesn’t come from caring only for ourselves, but in helping those around us who are weaker than us. We don’t grow strong for ourselves, we grow strong for each other, a principle quite fitting for your species as well. Your strength doesn’t lie in being separated, in being selfish and uncaring, it lies in coming together, growing together and helping one another.
So what I want to explain to you is that of course, you feel alien and disconnected from the world and other people if you’re unaware of the intrinsic unity between yourself and others. So it’s not a surprise that you and many others of your kind feel like leaves blowing in the wind, without having any roots.
Humans aren’t connected by a network of roots obviously, although it would be quite amusing to see that, your roots are growing within yourself, your spirit, which is the spirit of everyone.
It is important to know that in order to heal the world and its people, you must grow strong roots within yourself, anchored in spirit if you truly want to bear fruit that helps in this process. Just look at trees. Before we start being of help to the ones around us, before we start bearing fruit that nourishes those that rely on our produce, we are focused on growing strong roots, so that we may stand strong and firmly planted in the earth, unshakeable by whatever comes our way. We do this not out of selfish reasons, but because we want to make sure that we don’t collapse under the weight of what we’re carrying.”
He had to digest what has just been transmitted to him as it resonated so deeply with him, that all his fear and all his remaining tension vanished completely and he was utterly amazed and saw clearly like a veil has been lifted from his eyes. He did not only understood those words, he deeply felt their significance and truth, as if they have become alive deep within him. He sat there, wondering how he could’ve ever thought of trees just being trees, ignorant of the living wisdom hiding behind the hard bark.
“I sense that you are quite tired my friend, you can rest here as long as you wish. This was a lot to understand and it might take a while until it moves from understanding to your own experience, but I am sure it will in time.”
He actually noticed a great tiredness washing over him, his body become heavy and his breathing deep and slow and he drifted off into a deep sleep and with his last avaiable spark of conscious awareness, he uttered the words:
“Thank you, Giant One.”