Photograph by Carina Renner
Click on this link Rona.tree to hear the audio version of this meditation:
When you are ready, find a place to sit, on a chair or pillow, or if you prefer, you can lie down. If you sit in a chair, place your feet on the floor, loosen any tight clothing, and sit with your spine straight and feel your weight on the earth.” If you are lying down, sense the floor, or mat, or bed below your body.
If you are comfortable doing so, close your eyes, and begin to bring awareness to your breath. Notice your breath. Breathing in and breathing out. Some people like to breathe in through their nose and then out through their mouth. It’s up to you. You can just notice the natural rhythm of your breath. Such a gift, your breath is…bringing life to your entire body. Breathing in and breathing out…this moment in time…when there is no need to do anything except notice your breathing. When thoughts come to mind, notice them, without judgment, and then let them go.
I invite you, now, to imagine that you are a tree. You are strong and beautiful. You may be large with a wide trunk and branches reaching to the sky.
You may be a small delicate tree, bending with ease as the wind blows. Picture the shape of the leaves. Are they like the five star leaf of the liquidambar? Or are they mighty like a palm tree. Sensing your feet, imagine your strong roots below the surface, bringing you nourishment. These roots ground you and help you be secure. Now bring your attention up into your legs, past your ankle into your lower leg, your knees, and your upper legs. Become aware of your pelvis, hips, and abdomen. Bring your attention to the place where your body meets the chair or the floor or bed below you. Continue to notice your breathing as you become aware of your chest. Your lungs are expanding and relaxing…breathing in and breathing out. Become aware of your back. Like a tree you are strong in your trunk and able to withstand all kinds of conditions around you. No matter if it is raining, or snowing, or the wind is blowing, or the sun is shining, your trunk will stay strong.
Now, bring your attention to your shoulders and then down into both of your arms, and hands, and all of your fingers. Your hands are like the branches of a tree that move and sway and reach to the sky. Become aware of you neck and your jaw and notice if there is any tension. If so bring your breath to any areas of discomfort in your neck or any part of your body. Your breath can meet the tension and offer some relief. Become aware of your head, and face, and hair, and picture beautiful and strong branches with leaves of any color or shape you choose reaching from the top of your head to the sky. These leaves will come and go with the seasons, and the tree will grow as long as it gets water and sun and stays rooted to the earth providing it with nourishment. With the seasons the tree changes, growing new leaves, and shedding old ones. As you feel your strength and beauty imagine how being a parent or teacher requires you to be strong and flexible and like the tree you shelter smaller creatures from the storm. And like the leaves of the tree you shed old ideas and grow new ones.
When you are ready, sense your body, and now bring your attention to the sounds around you. What do you hear? Cars? An airplane? Birds? Notice the sounds. And when you are ready, slowly open your eyes and look around you. Take in the light, notice the objects, ordinary things that may look different now. As you move from this state of mind and body remember how it feels, and at anytime during the day, you can remember and benefit from the strength, presence, and beauty of your tree.
May your roots keep you secure, your trunk keep you strong, your branches keep you flexible, and your leaves bring you and others happiness.
By Rona Renner, 2013