Recently I was alerted to a powerful meditation on trees and I recommend it especially at this time of coronavirus.  A time of staying home is a fitting occasion to meditate on creation.  It can ground oneself, root us to Source, and teach us the importance of Gratitude and not taking for granted.  [See Singing to the Trees: A Global Practice in Loving Awareness]

Walking the green mile. Photo by Iswanto Arif on Unsplash.

In my book, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, one archetype I present is that of the Green Man which is a fitting archetype to awaken a healthy masculinity in contrast to so much toxic masculinity that struts and strives to rule the world by way of economics, politics, media or empire building.  If good things emerge from the current pandemic, a shelving of insipid masculinity might be the greatest blessing of all.

In his classic work, The Spirit of Trees, Fred Hageneder declares that “trees are the most successful life forms of Earth”—and the most dominant since they first appeared over three hundred million years ago.  Besides the oceans, “mixed woodlands of self-sown trees untouched and uncultivated by man—and tropical rainforest form the richest ecosystem in existence” and provide habitat for the “widest variety of species.”  Communities of trees “are fundamental to weather and climate, for a beneficial water cycle; for the development of minerals; for balancing the electrical charges between the ionosphere and the Earth’s surface; and for the maintenance of the Earth’s magnetic field as a whole.” 

Sun shining on the bark of a young tree on a spring day. Photo by Zwaddi on Unsplash.

What is a tree?  The body of a tree is mostly filled with sunlight.  “Light courses through its structure, navigating vital processes and maintains the balance and health of the whole organism….The tree produces a continuous light show from its very cells.”

Trees are “cosmic antennae” that link the heavens and the earth.  Radiation from supernovas—the gigantic explosions marking the death of a star far out in space—have been shown to influence tree growth.  Thus “every star that dies in our galaxy is perceived by trees.”

Original art of the lungs as trees. Posted in essay, mentioned aboved, on Singing to Trees.

Trees have assisted humans from the beginning. Our ancestors first sheltered in woods like apes still do today.  When humans left the woods and discovered fire, “fire became the driving force in the development of the human species, and it was always trees which supported the human need for fuel.”  We relied on wood for building shelters, bridges, barns and most of the stone tools from the Stone Age served to work wood. The great medieval cities were built “mostly in wood” and human writing first occurred on bark and wood tablets.

Sacred groves are a universal phenomenon—“almost everywhere in the world the beginnings of social and religious life took place under trees.”  Greek deities were linked to particular tree species, Apollo and the laurel, Aphrodite and the myrtle, Athena and the olive, Pan and the pine.

No wonder Hildegard of Bingen called Christ a “Green man” in the twelfth century.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spiritualty of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 20f.

Banner Image: Tall Australian trees from Warburton. Photo by Arnaud Mesureur on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Thomas Aquinas says that meditation on creation leads to God or Spirit.  Is that your experience on practicing a meditation on trees? 

What other meditations can flow from this experience, how do beings in creation lead you to encounter the Sacred?

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

Conversations On Aquinas: Adam Bucko

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12 thoughts on “Meditation on Trees”

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Steve, Wood Wide Web! I love it! We are being held in so many ways that we don’t know! Its almost like our World Wide Web is a mirror of theirs. Thank you for the gift of the link to the New Yorker article.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  1. Avatar

    Good morning and thank you for this wonderful foundation to build our spiritual treehouses from. The birds and squirrels are happily spending Spring in their own treehouses. I’ve seen some amazing treehouse designs coming out of Japan that literally seem to grow entwined, as well as some beautiful American carpentry treehouses being made. I think of Joseph the Carpenter. How wonderful if masculinity were celebrated like big strong branches sheltering tiny birds from the storm, instead of lumberjacks cutting down forests and burning everything in their path. I heard that even a tree that is cut down its roots seek out its neighbor trees and keep growing towards them even though its leaves cant reach out and brush against them in the sky as they whisper in the wind. The connection between everything cannot be severed. Love cannot die. Thank you so much for the archetypes I can’t wait to share this book with everyone. Looking forward to singing to the trees today as we meditate upon this, and breathing with the trees. Thank you so much for everything, see you tomorrow.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Laura,
      I love the image of a spiritual tree house, all entwined around each of us, part child’s adventure and part adult reverie!

      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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    How amazing to learn about the connection of trees to the cosmos! Basically, I’m happy to be saturated with the knowledge of anything that will strengthen and confirm how very connected everything is (including each other) in this wonderful universe of ours!
    I love trees, and my meditation often consists of contemplating the many beautiful ones I have outside my picture window, and the ones across the street where gorgeous maples line the sides of a half-mile road ahead. I often will stop and hug a dear old maple on my walk, but knowing how connected they are to the whole cosmos as well as to me, will make my hugs seem even more healing and loving. Thank You!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Vivian,
      Thank you for your thoughts. They remind me of an image traveling through social media last week, entitled “Iceland’s Solution to Social Distancing.” The photo is of two orange gloves hugging a tree, obviously belonging to a person on the other side of the trunk. It was meant to be funny, but it made me feel supported and hopeful. We are all just hanging on here….

      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  3. Avatar

    I love Synchronicity! Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Therapeutic Touch International Association, to which I belong, has been doing a daily meditation at noon (local time) to send Healing to the Earth. Our vehicle for this is a meditation given us by Dora Kunz, one of the Founding Mothers of Therapeutic Touch. The meditation consists of a visualization of ourselves as trees, taking in Healing Energy from our roots, and from the sun sending Healing down through the branches. Then we send this Healing Energy out to all Creation. Holding the space together is a powerful affirmation of the interconnectedness of All.

    1. Avatar

      Thank you, Elaine, for sharing this beautiful and powerful way of meditating by visualizing ourselves as trees, gathering Healing energy from our roots, and Energy from the sun coming down through the branches, then sending Healing to all Creation! How lovely and easy and practical and beneficial for All!
      I will start doing this at noon today ( eastern time). Thank you so much! I did Therapeutic touch for years and still use it when a need presents itself.
      Love and Blessings.

      1. Avatar

        And Vivian–Synchronicity strikes again! How nice to connect with another Therapeutic Touch practitioner.

    2. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Elaine,
      Thank you for letting us know about your healing meditation with the Therapeutic Touch Association. THe image is beautiful and edifying. Its so good to lean against a strong tree! With this meditation, you all become another forest of healers. Thank you for taking part in this important effort.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Mary,
      Thank you for sharing your delight with us. Have you read any of the scientific research that shows that the DNA of trees and humans is predominantly the same? Trees are our kin in very specific ways!
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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