What a Tree Taught Me

By Andrew Rooke

Every day for years I have been jogging around the local park. It is marvellous how jogging can clear the mind and attune one to the natural beauty of the park lands - I call it "meditation on the move." A particular gum tree has attracted my attention as I dash by each day. There is nothing especially unusual about it - spiral brown and white bark circling upwards, narrow dark green leaves reaching skywards.

One day as I was approaching my tree, I caught myself wondering how such a complex and magnificent entity could learn much of anything rooted to the same spot throughout its long life. Surely it would experience the tree equivalent of boredom!

Perhaps it was the voice of the dryad (spirit of the tree) whispering in my ear as I flashed by: "There is no room for complacency or boredom when you are aware." Aware of what, I pondered? "Aware of the symphony of the grass and flowers growing, the ebb and flow of the seasons, the ceaseless industry of the birds and insects moving in my branches, the spectacle of the stars circling above. Here, in this small patch of ground, there is a universe of movement and life, more than enough for a lifetime of soul learning if you are prepared to listen."

I thought, if this is so for a tree rooted to the same spot for its life, how much more so for us humans? We have the freedom of movement and the light of mind to guide us. We need to take heed from nature and be aware - make the most of our daily experiences which are really golden opportunities for soul learning.

(From Sunrise magazine, June/July 2001; copyright © 2001 Theosophical University Press)

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