What does the Tree Knows?
The tree of life exists across many cultures.
In Kaballah, it is the descent of spirit into matter, and its ascent of return. In shamanic traditions, it represents the bridge from the underworld of shadows to the upperworld of spirit. In some mythologies, the tree oozes a sacred elixir that opens perception to higher vision. And in all of them, the tree is a mirror for the human self.
What I come to powerfully realise every time I stand still like a tree is: trees have a lot to reflect about us, specially about what is essential to our humanity.
For instance, the Chinese character for a human is two legs standing. Meaning, the one who stands upright.
Just like humans, trees stand upright, between Heaven and Earth. Trees had been symbolically perceived worldwide as a central axis, around which everything revolves and changes. A unifying center, bringing together all dualities and oppositions. As a center point, trees remain still; yet they are in constant change and growth. Trees are able to remind us about our place in the cosmos, and how to harmonise the subtle and the dense, the light and the dark, the above and the bellow.
Trees are also highly social beings - just like us.
But here's the deal: trees stay, despite of danger, whereas humans, avoid. This means that trees need to develop a high level of sensitivity in order to make constant assessments of their environment and respond accordingly. Trees are continuosly assessing light, water, minerals, temperature and other living beings.
When we avoid, we enter in a fight-or-flight or freeze mode, we speed-up or collapse and consequently decrease our ability to feel. This reduces our sensitive nature.
Human sensitivity relates to the evolution of a social nervous system. This system has enabled us to come contact with one another, co-regulate arousal and fear, assess and deal with danger together. This makes us beings of connection, beings of great sensorial awareness, with a need for communal life sourced in the heart intelligence for maintaining a sense of safety and belonging.
It strikes me hard, that in our current times, humans had bypassed their inherent sociability and collaborative traits and instead, forged institutionalised struggle, competitive and isolation-based systems as ways of living. That we depressed our sensitive, creative nature and instead we unsconsciously wear armours, appearances and defences.
So, what we have to learn with trees, it's huge, attending the extraordinary times we live in - times that ask for change of our habitual ways.
Humans had broke their sentient relation to trees and nature, and it's not only for the sake of the Earth that we need to return to this very old conversation. It's for the sake of our own humanity.