Awake in the World

Awake in the World

The Lesson of Trees

Trees. We rarely consider them, but without them we’d breathe at lot less easy! They give and give, even when we harm them. They give us oxygen, fruits and nuts. They provide shade to everyone. They open their limbs to birds, frogs and lizards. They never say, “I will give my shade only to those birds and creatures I like.” Or “My fruits are only for people who have a certain status and dress.” Even when we chop them down they offer us their wood for desks, furniture, pencils and homes. The sandalwood tree offers its fragrance even to the axe man.

The tree’s nature teaches us ways of wisdom. It has often been a symbol of spiritual life throughout many cultures. It’s not uncommon to see a tree at the center of a Muslim prayer rug or in an Islamic or Jewish sacred weaving. When the tree grows and thrives, it’s seen as representing the vibrant inner life of an individual and a culture. The notion of sacrifice and giving is at the heart of the tree’s teaching. Its nature is to give its harvest and shade equally to all and it teaches us of the power of treating all as one.


Sitting quietly in a grove of ancient oaks, in Southern France, I realized that the trees has seen the times of Napoleon and even farther into the past. They held a regal bearing and sheltered me from a rising storm blowing in from the Mediterranean. Often when I felt a desire for peace I would walk up the mountain side to find this hidden sacred grove. The trees were so powerful in their silence that they were as much a presence beside me as a human. It’s impossible to be lonely with trees as friends. They are always there for us, always willing to listen. Even though you may not want to hug trees, at least notice them for today. Pay attention and with a heart filled with gratitude, thank them for all that they give.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at

Previous Posts

Discovering You're Enough with a Leap of Perception
If you’re feeling hemmed in and know that there’s much more to you than what you’re currently experiencing but don’t know quite how to access it, then “Leap of Perception,” by Penney Peirce deserves a read. Penney wrote about working ...

posted 10:16:51am Sep. 18, 2013 | read full post »

How Joy Finds Us: Interview with Mark Nepo
The things we need arrive at the right time, and so it has been with Mark Nepo and his work. For those of us on a spiritual path, Mark’s writings possess the power to immediately move us into connection with a subtle and powerful awareness at ...

posted 9:42:16am Jul. 16, 2013 | read full post »

Hot Rituals to Celebrate the Summer Solstice
Can you feel the excitement in the air? The days are hot and sunny, and summer officially begins this week on June 21st. It’s the longest day and the shortest night in the Northern hemisphere. I love this day. In the South of France it’s ...

posted 7:27:32am Jun. 20, 2013 | read full post »

When Spirit Moves Us Out of Our Comfort Zone to Grow
Stepping onto the spiritual path isn’t all peace and roses. It pushes us into a place that moves us beyond our usual comfort zone. As we attune to the highest within us and listen to inner guidance, that guidance sometimes pushes us to try new ...

posted 8:04:01am Jun. 18, 2013 | read full post »

When Life Races By Replace Stress and Anxiety with Gentle Awareness
Even though I’m a seasoned traveler I still get stressed before trips. It’s not big jitters, just a general anxiety about: 1) Did I pack everything? 2) Will my travel connections go smoothly? And 3) What about the unexpected? Movement brings ...

posted 5:26:35am May. 28, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.