Embracing the Tree


In his recent book Blinded By Science, author Matthew Silverstone presents cutting edge scientific research that affirms something I’d wager to say everyone knows at a gut level: nature heals.

Specifically trees.

In the Bhakti yoga tradition, trees are given as an emblem of humility, giving everything while asking for nothing in return.

Other wisdom traditions see trees as an embodiment of their ancestors.

I have even heard trees referred to as vessels for highly evolved healing consciousness. In his book Of Water and the Spirit, medicine man, visionary and cultural emissary Patrice Malidoma Some shares a powerful experience with a tree during his rite of passage. After spending days meditating on a chosen tree, his reality suddenly broke open and gifted him with a vision of a Green Lady in Black. This lady wrapped Malidoma in her arms and welcomed him into an experience of profound connection.

We don’t have to alter our perceptual chemistry to encounter a tree on a deeper level. All you need to do is be near trees to receive benefits like improved concentration levels, increased reaction times, decreased depression, stress and other forms of mental illness says Silverstone.

Silverstone’s book is so powerful because it makes the case for a vibrational language existing in each and every tree.

All we need to do is attune ourselves to this subtle nature and a completely new world opens up. A world where trees become medicine and our allies in cultivating higher consciousness.

Further evidence of the intelligence and magic of the plant world can be seen in the work performed for the past 40 years at Damanhur, Italy. Researchers here have created technology to interpret the electromagnetic impulses of plants, on their leaves and roots, into actual live music. The result must be experienced:

In my own journey as a musician and a human, connecting with plants and the land was a precious step in reclaiming my own ground; my right to be here; my relationship with myself, with others and with the world. Part of this meant studying sustainable agriculture and working at an organic farm.

On a more internal level I started to practice Qi Qong. Qi Gong is an ancient scientific practice of cultivating vitality. After attending a two-day immersion workshop, I was motivated to practice what I had learned everyday.

It was one of those moments that the Greeks call Kairos, or those perfect crossroads of external circumstance and internal development. The moments when our fate becomes clear and contoured and almost impossible not to follow. My commitment to the practice was effortless and took me to a whole new level of living and musicality.

I began to see connections between the harvest from the farm and the harvest of my own body. How preparing the soil is a mirror for how we all steward our inner ecosystem and resources. As my respect and participation deepened, my relationship to music and to sound transformed.

Sound started to become like a harvest, something that, yes, was already and always inside of me, but that was growing and changing in accordance with my actions. Later I would learn about the laws of karma from the Vedic tradition, but for now my experience of cause and effect was boiled down to a question I learned to ask myself again and again.

“How does it feel?”

Simply tuning in to the sensations in the body, coupled with an exploratory practice of the dynamics of motion, breath and energetic activity, began to reveal a space where the sound became alive. The pressure was taken off of me to perform.

I could just be.

It’s my suspicion that this somehow describes what we experience with trees. We automatically drop pretense and sink into sensation when we are in nature. There is so much happening around us, literally the vibrations permeating the environment, that we can stop worrying about our own output and just take in the beauty. The healing. The magic.

We can just be.

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