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mistyStrawberryTree

LEARNING TO GAZE

1)    Sit easily in a relaxed, upright position.

2)    Take a couple of deep breaths.

3)    Relax your face and your eyes. Allow them to find an angle of view which is relaxed and comfortable – a slightly downwards gaze is usually good.

4)    Put your attention on your vision, but do not focus your eyes on anything specific. Allow them simply to gaze in a relaxed manner, taking in whatever can be seen.
You may find you have a tendency to focus on something in particular, if so, just relax your sight once more or take your awareness to the edges of your area of vision (without moving the eyes at all). This usually helps to regain a relaxed, open sight.

5)    If you feel restless or unsettled give yourself something else to rest your attention upon.
Keeping your eyes relaxed, turn the attention to whatever you are hearing. See if you can relax your hearing in the same way as your vision – not distinguishing individual sounds or identifying them, but listening to all sounds that are happening simultaneously. (It is easy to forget that our hearing is as selective as our sight – recording the sounds in the room we are in clearly demonstrates how we habitually ignore many of the sounds around us that the machine cannot block out).
Alternatively, put your attention on the breath. There are various ways of doing this.
One of the easiest is simply to notice that, whilst breathing gently through a slightly opened mouth, the cool inbreath can be felt as it passes over the palette at the back of the mouth, whilst on the outbreath the warmed air cannot be felt at all.
Just a light attention on this phenomenon is enough to quieten the mind. Restlessness itself can be relaxed into.
Avoid the idea that physical, mental or emotional stillness is required. What is required for gazing is simply not to get absorbed by any sensation, thought or experience. Suppressing energy only stirs up more energy. Energy subsides by itself in its own time if you just allow it to.

6)     So simply remain, allowing sense impressions, thoughts, images, feelings, to come and go whilst you continue gazing in a relaxed way.Initially you might find it easier to close the eyes for a moment or two to settle yourself down, but it is then a good idea to open the eyes again, as it is easier to remain without drifting away into sleepiness or dream states.There is no need to do this exercise for long periods of time.Two or three minutes on a regular basis gets us used to being comfortable in a state of calm without focus, without activity, without the need to do anything other than register our life.

Looking at a gently changing scene can be helpful to gazing. Watching the surface of flowing water, looking at the changing clouds in the sky, or the leaves on a tree, grasses undulating in the wind, all help to establish a calm, trance (entranced) state.  The word ‘trance’ has come to mean ‘unaware’, ‘fooled’, unfocused’, whereas trance is really what gazing is all about. The state of trance (of which there are an endless variety of degrees of experience), is simply the turning of our attention away from the conscious, surface, language-based rational processes of the mind, towards a more open, relaxed and curious state of awareness. Ordinary awareness is one window we choose to look through. Sleep is another, dream is another, imagination is another, trance is another. All these states are natural to the human being and all are effortless to achieve. Once you have had a little experience with gazing you will appreciate how easily we can slip from one state of awareness to another in a smooth continual process. Gazing simply helps us to watch the world (internal and external), in a more neutral manner. We become less an individual experiencing and judging events (interpreting patterns), and more simply a location in time and space on the universal field witnessing local events. This sublimation, or turning away from individual judgemental thought is essential if we are to access tree spirit consciousness in useful ways. Gazing exercises help us to broaden out our experience. We become an experience happening, rather than someone having an experience.

pussy willow sky

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Tree Consciousness – on Silence.

Attaining a degree of silence is essential to any work with trees and tree spirits, ( in fact, with any work on subtle and meditative levels).

Silence, though, is not a reduction, not a shutting down or shutting out, not a restriction of thought, nor of the senses, the actions or the passions.

Silence is an opening out in order to include what appears not to be sound, what appears not to be self, what appears not to be sensation.

Silence happens with inclusiveness of what is not perceived. Thoughts don’t stop, feelings don’t stop, nothing changes. Except there is an addition in the self-awareness that all is occurring within a field existing beyond any object or percept.

We habitually seek out things, objects, names, identifiers. These are all in the foreground. Silence occurs when we also notice the background, the field within which our percepts reside.

When we stand in front of a tree, we need to see the tree behind the tree, the tree between the tree, the tree and the non-tree.

When we stand in front of the mind, we need to see the mind behind the mind, the mind between the mind, the mind that is the non-mind.

What is the non-tree? What is the non-mind? They are the silence that arises when we pay attention to what is not there, as well as to what is perceived as there.

Most, if not all, of the Tree Teacher Techniques in Tree Spirit Healing are ways to bring this silence to our awareness, either directly or indirectly. The next few posts will describe some of them. Beginning with Gazing.

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Imagine a tree beginning as a seedling.

It starts to accumulate energy and begins to transmute the elements of light, water and earth.

It accumulates power within its structure.

As it grows more energy, power, information, consciousness is concentrated and can stay stable here for many hundreds of years.

These are stable energy fields within an ever-changing environment.

Slowly, as the tree eventually ages and dies, it releases that accumulated energy slowly back into the earth where it can be accessed again.

Visualise this process as if each tree were a  point of light or warmth.

Look down on the landscape alive with stable energy.

Small points growing bright over the centuries, spreading the light of energy into their surroundings, holding steady and then gradually becoming more diffuse and fading as other lights begin to glow bright.

Know that nothing else in this world can infuse the world with this light.

Everything relies on this continual dance for its survival and sustenance.

These are the power stations that need to be maintained.

weeping willow2

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monkey puzzleA5

Tube Of Light

A tree is a tube of spirit

Through which the energies of the world

Can move.

Being in the presence of a tree and its spirit

We can feel the movement of this energy again.

Our edges soften, our roots spread deeper,

Our ‘but…’ awareness quietens down

And we become happier to let go

And breathe life through our own tube –

The tube of our body,

Of our personal history,

Of our awareness.

black poplarA5

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Mimosa (Silver Wattle)

mimosa2A5

“ Synaptic elegance

radiant suns

interstices of light.”

interstices of light

light arcing

synaptic elegance

synaptic elegance

million suns

interstices of light

eloquence

radiance

radiant suns

arcs of light

million stars

limitless flow.

In the cold winter days of the Northern hemisphere nothing is so delightfully surprising as the fragrant clouds of yellow spheres that burst out from the delicate foliage of the mimosa. Originally from the temperate zones of Tasmania and Southern Australia, the wattles, or mimosas, have been planted wherever they can escape the harshest of winter winds and frosts. They are a common street tree in the Mediterranean area and they flourish in sheltered areas of southern Britain. They have a light wood and very rapid growth.

Breath.

Breathe in : through the fingertips and the insides of the thighs to the spinal column.

Breathe out:  up the spinal coumn and into all the sinuses, chambers and cavities of the head.

mimosa sky

Mimosa (Silver Wattle) : sensuality, internal awareness, intuition, expression, peace.

mimosa clear

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“Skyline trees –
stitching together
heaven and earth.

The Great becomes Small,
The Small becomes Great.

The Oak tree. Its energy is to maintain the balance within physical reality. The maintenance and harmonisation of opposite forces, the tying together of light and dark, sky and earth, void and form, existence and non-existence. All this can be intimated from the consolidated, rigid tension within the large boughs of the oak tree. As if each oak tree represents a stitch that holds our very reality together in its potent form. Each tree is a vortex of energy. Simultaneously a white and a black hole, drawing into itself and its surroundings the tendency of things to separate and fly apart, to dissolve back into the formless matrix of potential existence.
Oak demonstrates the means by which the individual is able to manifest from out of the many possibilities of how reality might be constructed. Oak absorbs within itself all these possibilities and then reveals new patterns. It helps to define and clarify, allowing communication, the flow of energy, from the hidden sources of existence. Seemingly weaving together impossibly thin threads to create an unbreakable web that will be able to hold all perceptions fast.
Oak itself remains free of time, outside the flow of events, and can thus bring a sense of timelessness, a place of the deepest calm within which to consider possibilities of action and understanding.
Learning the way of oak is treading the labyrinth – always seeming to turn in different directions, but always heading towards the one central, invisible goal without fail.

(from “Tree: Essence, Spirit, Teacher” p.39)

20121220-190150.jpg

Original print by Simon Lilly of the Oak Spirit Key symbol using the colour sequence that is aligned to that tree.

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