There’s a tree that existed before the woods,
in age twice as old.
Its roots suffered as the valley changed,
its leaves deformed by wind and frost.
People all laugh at its withered aspect,
caring nothing about the core ’s beauty.
When the bark is all stripped off,
only essence remains.

Hanshan
Translated by Tony Barnstone

The trees were aglow. Their leaves and branches glistened and seemed to shine from the inside out. Occasionally there was a silhouette of a bird perched on a branch offering a melodic sound, almost as praise to the radiance.

Although the trees were being bathed in the rays of the setting sun, the luminosity revealed their inherent selflessness and generosity. Regardless of how trees are treated, they quietly nourish endless life forms, particularly breathing beings such as humans.

Given their peaceful nature, human cultures throughout the world have long respected trees for more than being practical resources for mortal life. They are also revered as messengers of pure light as they effortlessly express kindness, patience, humility, resilience, harmony and unity.

I have come to view trees as tranquil reminders to shed the destructive tendencies born of greed, anger and delusion; and, instead be a loving sentinel of eternal light benefiting the welfare of all beings.  I can learn a lot from their kind stillness.

Practice
This practice helps bring awareness that all directions radiate from the heart.

 Prepare—

  • Place your phone and other digital tools in airplane mode.  Remove watches and activity trackers from your wrist. If comfortable, remove your shoes.
  • This is a standing practice..
  • Shake out your right side, first your right arm and then your right leg. Repeat, on the left side.  Shake each limb for about a minute.
  • Playfully dance around for a few moments.

Practice—

  • Standing, place your hands over your heart with one palm over the others. Imagine you are free of greed, anger and delusion and overflowing with pure radiance and love.  Relax your arms along your sides.
  • Still standing, slowly turn in a circle, counterclockwise. Imagine as you turn you are surrounded by radiance and love and radiance.   Return to the original direction you were facing.
    • (Note: if you cannot visualize quarter-turns, try imagining facing the four horizontal directions, beginning facing the easterly direction and then turning a quarter-turn toward the south, etc. Or, imagine that you are standing in the center of an analog clock. You begin facing the number 12, and then, turn and pause at the numbers 3, 6, 9, and 12.)
  • For the following practice, you will slowly be making 4 quarter-turns to your right, pausing at each turn until you are again facing the original direction.
  • At each quarter-turn, pause. While pausing, again place your hands over your heart, and then slowly stretch your arms outward (palms upward) as though offering flowers from the depth of your heart to all that abides in that direction.
  • When your return to your original direction, place your hands over your heart as a reminder of your infinite radiance, dignity, love and generosity.  Then, offer flowers to the earth, and then to the heavens and all that abides below and above.
  • Pause in stillness, remembering the quietude of the trees.

Transition Back into Your Day –

  • Come to a comfortable seated position.  If you wish, place your palms over your heart-center again with a slight bow of your head.
  • Pause and sit quietly for long as you are comfortable before returning to your day.

This poem appears in Mala of the Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 111, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon on katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2023.

Enjoy gems of natural beauty 
& #naturesutras

invitation to connect

Are you wondering if this is the right time for a Living Wisdom Mentoring session?
upcoming events

©2019 Kate Vogt. Privacy Policy. Portrait Photography by Paulina Paczkowska