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The Bard's Path
Tree Meditation: Summer
by Autumn Rose
Let’s take a few moments to silently observe our external surroundings. What is in front of you?.... What sounds do you hear?.... What odors do you detect?.... Close your eyes now, shutting all that out, and shift your attention to your internal environment, your own body... Notice your breath passing in and out of your nostrils as you breathe Can you feel your pulse beating? Ask yourself, Am I comfortable?... If not, make yourself so. Adjust your clothing if necessary Adjust your posture. Stand (sit) erect but relaxed We’re going to take several deep, cleansing breaths now, and each time you exhale you will feel tension flowing out of your body. With each exhalation you will feel more and more relaxed. Beginning now, in.... out and relax ...in.... out and relax ...in.... out and relax ...in.... out and relax....
You find yourself now standing at the edge of a wood on a bright summer morning. Although it is still early, the air is warm and humid, and a thin film of perspiration covers your face and neck and bare arms. As you enter the woods, the dark green leaves of the trees form a lacy canopy over your head, and the world is immediately dimmer and cooler. Even so, bits of sunlight manage to squeeze their way into the spaces between leaves, and the ground seems sprinkled with flecks of gold. You stroll among the trees, past waist high clumps of fern, kicking up dust from the dry leaf mold underfoot. A squirrel scolds at you from a high branch as you pass underneath, and a raven greets you raucously.
Ahead of you now you spy a tree among trees: a towering blue spruce, a magnificent specimen, tall and symmetrical and thickly grown. You walk toward it, drawn irresistibly by its beauty and majesty. Coming up to it, you stretch out a hand to touch it. As your fingers make contact with its needles, you feel a surge of power pass up your arm and into your body — and suddenly you are inside the tree, you are one with it. Your torso stretches up and up to fit the tall trunk of the tree. Your blood vessels are one with its vascular system. Your nervous system extends into all the tree’s branches, into every branchlet and every needle, and down into its roots, which seem to be growing out of your feet. As you become aware of them, the roots begin to grow longer, spreading wider and reaching deeper into the earth, sending out new rootlets as they go. Down, down they probe, through the moist and pebbly soil, absorbing nutrients and water — down to the firm, supporting bedrock. You can feel the heat below the bedrock, where the mantle slowly swirls, warmed by the hot, beating heart of Earth. All this you draw up through your roots — this fertile, nourishing, warm, throbbing Earth energy. You feel it rise up through your trunk, then outward into your branches, your branchlets, your needles.
Now you are aware of another pressure on your needles, a pressure from outside. You recognize it. The energy of the Sky is trying to enter into you. You open yourself to it, and your needles drink in the hot, brilliant energy of the Sun ...the insistent push of wind.. .the crackling jolt of lightning. This energy too spreads through your tree body — from needles, to branchlets, to branches, into your trunk, up to your topmost tip and down into your roots. The two energies mingle in you — the rich, warm, throbbing Earth energy and the brash, insistent, crackling Sky energy. You send some of the Sky energy down into the Earth, and broadcast some of the Earth energy out to the Sky. You throb and crackle-throb and crackle-throb and crackle. You are the tree, a conduit between Earth and Sky.
Now you become aware that your roots are entwined with the roots of other trees (take hands here), that the branches of other trees are brushing your branches. You open your eyes and find that you are but one tree in a grove of trees, all warmed by the same sun, all rooted in the same earth.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Take the hands of your neighbors on either side and close your eyes. You are still one tree in a grove of trees, your roots intertwined, your branches overlapping. Tree sap still courses through your vascular system, carrying the throbbing Earth energy up from your roots and out through your needles; carrying the crackling Sky energy throughout your body and down to your roots. But something outside you pulls at your awareness now, something it seems you left behind. You remember that there is a wider world than this grove: a human world full of human tasks and human pleasures. You feel a desire to return to it. Gently you pull your feet free of the tree’s roots (Drop hands here.) Your elongated torso slowly shrinks down to its usual size.... You feel a brief sensation of compression, and then a sensation of release... You find yourself standing next to a tall spruce tree in a sun-dappled wood. You remember making your meandering way to this tree, and you look for the path your feet scuffed up through dusty leaf mold. Finding it, you begin retracing your steps ...under the dark canopy of leaves ...past the clumps of tall ferns ... catching the sounds of the scolding squirrel and the raven... You reach the place where you entered the woods. Now you begin to hear the sounds of the real world around you. Listen to them.... Become aware of your familiar human body... Feel your breath passing in and out of your nostrils as you breathe Feel the pleasure of physical movement as you stretch your arms over your head higher ...and down again at your sides... Now open your eyes as one of a community of people.