Did you know that trees talk?
Scientists now know that forests are sophisticated hubs and networks that overlap through an underground biological network, which allows the trees to communicate with each other. ‘Mother’ trees recognise their children and seek to protect them, by reducing root competition to make room for them to grow. When a ‘mother’ tree is injured or dying, it sends out defence messages to its seedlings, so they will have better resistance to stress.
Why spend time listening to trees?
There is much evidence that spending time in woods and forests is good for our physical and mental wellbeing. Time in nature and particularly in woodlands and forest has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels, by encouraging time away from computer screens, artificial light and noise. I do realise the irony of writing this on a computer but bare with me. Let us agree after you have finished reading this and I have finished writing, we will go outside? Walking into the dappled, green light of woodland is spiritually uplifting. I define anyone not feel a sense of peace. There is much to be learned from our friends the trees if we listen.
How do you spent time listening to trees?
Here are some simple steps that you can take to begin a tree meditation.
First, leave the earplugs at home and turn off your phone. You are going to tune into a different sound system today.
Second, find a place – a wood, a park, a garden and take a walk. It doesn’t have to be very long. Be guided by the trees to where you will listen and make yourself comfortable.
Third, spend time just ‘being’. This is incredibly hard for us humans since we find ‘doing’ far more natural. Don’t expect anything, but accept what is. Breath slowly and notice- the sounds, the light, the smell. And that’s it! Simple
Try putting your ear to the ground and listening to the sounds underneath your feet, or to the root and trunk of the tree and see if you can hear its inner workings. If the tree is tall and there is a breeze in the treetops, you will hear the tree moving!
Take a note book with you to write or sketch your immediate responses from this time.
Finding a tree does not need to be difficult and you don’t need to go to a forest to this mediation. You may very well have a tree in your garden or closer to your home than you think.
After spending time at my childhood home, I reflected on a Silver Birch tree in the garden. A tree that I remember as a child. It was planted by my dad when we first moved in. When I truly focus on one thing instead of many. My partner describes me as a bit of a butterfly. For me, there are just too many lovely things and ideas to explore and I can often find it hard to stay on one task. Can you relate?
However, meditating on trees helps me focus and when I truly focus on one thing, like the tree in the garden, words come. The tree brought to mind my childhood, which was not always easy. Why not read the blog post to see how a simple tree meditation helped me process memories and thoughts and then be encouraged to try your own using the steps above?
I have to learn to live with life and not try to work against it. But how and where can I learn? I think I have found a teacher in the natural world. The rhythm and cycle of nature show me if I am prepared to listen.