Tree Mindfulness takes less than 5 minutes to read, but much longer to put into practice.

“Trees do not preach learning and precepts. They preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.”
Herman Hesse


The little birch tree I mentioned in  Lessons From A Tree – Part 2, taught me such a lot as I sat in my chair wondering if I would ever get outside again. Intellectually I understand much of what she has to say, but emotionally I take a while to catch up. Nonetheless there is solace in having somewhere to go for answers.

I have studied mindfulness with humans but tree mindfulness is something else altogether. As Glennie Kindred tells us,

“To meet with trees it is essential that you learn to slow down, settle your energy and breathe deeply with them. It is one of their many gifts to us.”

Do the answers really come from the tree or from our higher self, the Universe or God?

I don’t know and I don’t care. Since we are all connected and our electromagnetic fields extend all around us, as do those of all living beings, how can I know where I end and the other begins? Does it matter, if it helps?

Not to me. Getting answers, support and ease from my distress is all I am concerned with.little birch tree

Did we choose?

Looking at that little birch I wondered:

  • Why she is growing there?
  • What is it about that spot that provided her seed with exactly what she needed to grow?
  • Did she choose or was it random?

Of course we can ask the same questions of ourselves. Did we choose to grow here? Many people speculate about that and some believe they know the answer. They believe we choose our parents, economic status, country and so on.

I don’t claim to know. I don’t really care. I’m not wedded to any answer. I am more interested exploring ideas and what they might mean, what light they can shine in examining our life.

So like the little tree we find ourselves alive and living.  Like the tree we have to get on with it.

Make meaning

However it seems, perhaps unlike the tree, we humans make meaning out of what happens to us. This becomes the filter through which we view the world. At times this filter, our perceptions, can make our lives very hard. We ruminate over the past and worry away about the future. This makes it a challenge to actually be here in the lives we have.

I don’t know if trees worry and ruminate away about things, I suspect not. I think they practice tree mindfulness all day long.

In the moment

Watching this little birch I think she is in the moment, present to whatever is happening to her. her tree mindfulness reflecting is how she has to bend and flow with what comes her way. One day she is basking in sunshine, not a cloud in the sky, nor a breath of wind. The next day it drizzle, a fine grey haze of wetness coating every leaf till they become heavy and drip.

Does she complain that it’s not nice today, that she can’t do x, y and z?  I don’t think so.

Another day the wind blows hard bending her branches and whipping off her leaves. Does she complain? I don’t think so. I suspect she just gets on with it. Her branches are designed to let the wind flow through and around them, so she can weather what comes her way.

This little tree knows how to BE. She is a lesson in mindfulness.

  • What would it be like if we were more like her?
  • How would we feel if  we lapped up the sunshine of our lives, the moments of pleasure and joy?
  • Could we find the gratitude in days that feel more grey and overcast?
  • What would it be like if we could bend and sway with the wild crazy days that feel like they will blow us apart?

How would that little tree deal with this?

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”

John Muir

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About the Author: Mairi

Radical Self Care Coach, supporting you to create a calmer, simpler, more deeply connected life where you take better care of yourself and our planet.

One Comment

  1. Seana Smith May 7, 2016 at 3:20 am - Reply

    Hello from an uprooted tree, now firmly replanted. That’s such a love;y picture of the tree and when we look closely, as you did there are certainly lessons.

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