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treetrunk.jpgCall me a hippie, but in my world, it’s always tree-communing season–lush summer, earthy fall, brisk winter, blooming spring. Many years ago, I had a mind-blowing semi-mystical experience hugging a crab-apple tree–I was able to connect to it and sense its power as a growing, living being.

I didn’t hear it speak in words, but I did feel its wisdom resonate in me as a cleansing, rooted power–the tree seeemed to be reminding me that I was just as whole and holy as it–no less pure, no more essentially complicated. What I also humbly realized was that trees, like every other being on the planet, like to be loved, noticed, given energy. 

Since then I’ve had natural healers prescribe tree-hugging as a way to feel grounded and release negative energy–as long as you’re not physically harming the tree, it can easily transmute your bad vibes to happy ones like it converts carbon dioxide to oxygen.

To further my leafy love, I happily unearthed this sweet list Mara Freeman wrote for Beliefnet and added my own thoughts. It’s an evergreen (hee) guide to communing with the creatures that help us breathe. I’ve added to her thoughts with some of my own.  

How to Talk to a Tree

by Mara Freeman (& Valerie Reiss)

Take a walk in your local park or woods and learn how to tune into these wonderful beings and listen to the wisdom they may have to impart. You may have to overcome some feelings of self-consciousness–which is why it helps to have a fellow tree-loving friend–but it’s worth it. And if you’re overcome by not wanting to be the crazy person hugging a tree, recall our friend the Lorax, the tree hero extraordinaire–ask yoursel WWtLD?.  

1. Feel. Wander through different groups of trees, quiet your mind and practice tuning into their energy. In some parts of the forest, the trees may seem more “awake” than in others. Some may appear to exude warmth and friendliness, while others remain aloof. Notice how different species emanate different kinds of energy.

It may sound out-there, but each plant–and every living thing–has a vibration, and as such, a personality. Some may resonate more or less with your own. Try to see/feel/know this with your body, not your mind. Sometimes the scrawniest trees have the best energy. And sometimes the most robust are a snooze–at least for you at that moment.  

2. Choose. Let yourself be drawn toward one tree in particular, and move closer toward it. Observe every part of it from root to top. Every tree has an energy field, an aura. See if you can detect where the aura begins by walking towards and away from the tree and using the palms of your hands to sense its energy.

When homeopathic doctors figure out which medicines to dispense, they usually have the patient hold the bottle of pills or tincture and then either muscle test them or ask how they feel. When our fields mingle with a substance or a creature, they change a little–sometimes getting weaker or stronger. See how the tree you’ve tried on makes you feel–bigger, small, softer, harder, sweeter, sour-er, and follow the positive feelings. 

3. Connect. Send warm energy toward the tree from your heart and ask if it will allow you to draw closer and spend some time with it. If it is granted, walk closer to the tree and circle it slowly in a sunwise direction. Then put both your hands and your body against the trunk and tune into its consciousness. Notice how the tree looks close up, how it smells and how it feels against your skin.

Assuming that we’ve moved past the “this is totally kooky” phase, we can notice that trees have a sentience, that they can actually, in their own still, solid way respond to us if we ask and truly listen with all our senses. Trees get energy from being noticed, acknowledged, respected, and offered the love of our presence. Plus, paying close attention to their heft, texture, scent, and vibe brings us more into the moment. Keep asking yourself, “What am I sensing?” and with each observation you can wake up a little bit more to the present.   

4. Inhale. Rub a fresh leaf or needle between your fingers and inhale the fragrance.

In aromatherapy the scent of evergreens like pine and fir are considered cleansing and grounding. Trees sap, trunk, and leaves often are full of this essenceWhen we’re not near a tree, drops of those oils to a bath or massage oil can help us feel our roots more strongly and bring clarity and a sense of protection.   

5. Relax. Sit down against the trunk and open yourself to the power of the tree, and let it take you into a deep state of meditation. You don’t have to do anything other than stay relaxed and present and let the tree calm your thoughts and gently cleanse your mind of all the agitation of modern living. Enjoy this state of peace for as long as you want.

This is the good stuff, da kine, juicy moment you’ve been buidling toward. You can either sit or stay embracing the tree–during my cosmic tree experience I actually felt my own “hara” or energy center–the zone between the belly button and pubic bone–open up and connect with the tree’s hara. It was like we were two harddrives naturally hooked up, making communication deeper and easier. 

6. Commune. Open up a dialogue with the tree. You can ask questions about it, about yourself, and also for guidance on any problems. Sit in the silence and wait for a response, which usually comes as an inner sense of knowingness.

Now that you’re in the deep tree zone you can use this time to tap into nature’s wisdom. Your questions can be existential–What is my life’s purpose? Or more practical–What should I do about my relationship with my partner? The answers may came as words, knowing, or a gentle breeze. The key here is your own receptivity and lack of expectation. You could simply be planting seeds for the answers to come later. No matter what, do your best to enjoy and feel the moment–even if “nothing” comes, you’re still outside, in the embrace of a tree. 

7. Give Thanks. When you are ready, stand up and place your hands on its trunk again, sending it thanks from your heart.

This is essential. You loved to be thanked, right? Especially when you’ve shared your heart and soul with someone in deep communion? Well, your new tree friend is no different. When you thank it, you also might want to add a blessing for its continued well-being–something like, “May you continue to thrive and be blessed so that you may be healthy and happy and inspire all beings to be healthy and happy.”

Now step away slowly and ease into your next activity–you may be in a very sweet, rich space, like you’d feeel after a massage or a meditation. Honor that. And share the tree-y joy!  

Related Articles:

Thanks for the Lorax, Dr. Seuss

Quiz: How Green Are You?

How to Stop Junk Mail

Quotes About Trees

[Image via: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Baumstamm.jpg]

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