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Posts Tagged ‘awareness’

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This is the first of a series of related meditation exercises that were created and presented in Japan last month. It can be done very quickly, or it can be made into a main practice. It will be especially useful for those who feel out of balance or struggling with aspects of their environment they find challenging and difficult.

WALKING INTO A TREE (PURE EMPTINESS TREE)

Emptiness presents no resistance, no opposition. Everything flows through freely and maximum harmony is maintained.

1. It will always be more anchoring to begin with an actual tree. One that is present, or one that you know well.

2. Form an idea or image of the tree you feel you can work with, ( one that seems appropriate, or one that comes to mind as you begin to settle down).

3. In your energy form, consciously move closer towards the tree until you find at a certain distance you begin to enter the atmosphere or awareness of the tree itself.

4. At this place, pause, and greet the tree energy, asking permission to continue with the exercise. (if there is a clear refusal, you may need to work with a different tree energy or centre and ground yourself some more).

5. Move towards the tree until you pass through and into the trunk. Stay still and integrate with the feelings.

6. Become aware of the edge of the tree trunk, where the living cells are. Be aware of the quiet central spaces of the trunk of the tree. Visualise these as a large, hollow space. Allow your own body boundaries and aura and those of the tree to become the same, so you are just aware of an inner space with edges at the outer boundary.

7. Now imagine from above the top of the tree, open to the universe, that the energy of space, the element of akasha, flows down into your energy tube, swirling and flowing with indigo and starlight. Feel the expansive,opening energy sweep through your whole being from top to bottom, from head to foot, from branches to roots. When it has filled your inner space allow it to concentrate at the outermost boundary, as if forming a new layer of tree bark. See it as a layer of intense indigo, or midnight blue.

8. Now return your attention back up to the top of the tree, open to the universe. See a refreshing flow of air, of wind, of breezes, with a vibrant green colour, sweep down filling and cleansing all the inner space, sweeping away all imbalances. Fill your inner space completely and the see the green energy of air concentrate at the outer boundary, on the inside of the indigo layer of akasha.

9. Return your attention to the upper end of your hollow awareness tree and see a forceful white flow of water rush downwards bringing clarity and openness. See that energy sweep round and cleanse every part of your inner space. Then see it concentrate in a layer of white energy on the inside of the green layer of air.

10. Return your attention to the upper end of your hollow awareness tree and now see a downward rush of fire, a tumble and roar of flames, red in colour, fierce and powerful. See it purifying, transforming, consuming all imbalances. See the red flames fill the whole of your inner space, then let it concentrate as a layer of vibrant red colour on the inside of the white layer of water.

11. Return your awareness to the upper end of your hollow tree awareness and see it fill with a deep, rich yellow of the element of earth. See that clean, nurturing energy fill all your inner spaces, settling and repairing, reestablishing order and harmony. Finally, let the energy of the earth element flow out to form and concentrate as a layer of vibrant yellow on the inside of the red layer of fire.

12. Focus for a moment on the five protective layers that form the boundary of your hollow tree awareness. Then relax and let the imagery fade. You are now just standing within the tree again.

13. Imagine leaving the tree, walk out into the world. Turn and thank the tree for its kindness and support. Return to normal awareness.

—–

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hawthorn kenn churchyard1

HAWTHORN

“warm breath
dark cave
summer stars.”

No smell so captures the atmosphere of early summer in Britain than the hawthorn blossom. It has a heavy, sweet, erotic earthiness that seems ideal for the burgeoning of life around the beginning of May when the branch-tops become laden with a layer of white, cream or pink flowers. Hawthorn is a tree long associated with earth spirits – the fairies in particular – and with the Earth Goddess. It is a small tree that never attains a great girth or height, though it suits its habitat of open scrubland, woodland margins and open moorland. It is one of the main hedging plants as it can survive heavy pruning and forms dense thorny barriers of angular branches. The wood is heavy and fine-grained, though not as hard as blackthorn or other fruit woods. It’s often contorted and expressively gnarled form gives each tree a personality and presence less easy to find in other species. Despite its rugged and wild appearance during the winter months, it has an aura of benevolence throughout springtime, summer and autumn when the branches are laden with small, dark red berries. Hawthorn somehow manages to express the epitome of the Threefold Goddess and the sequence of time marked by seasonal change. Herbally and energetically hawthorn benefits the heart by regulating any abnormal activity. Its generosity of expression in flowers and fruit and the guarded protection of its compact form and fierce thorns perfectly characterises the needs of the heart in opening to relationships with love whilst maintaining appropriate boundaries between the self and others. There are many sub-species and types of hawthorn, all of which work alongside the qualities of the heart, love, expression of emotion, personal path, universal consciousness, intimacy, relaxation, expansion, richness of the senses, relaxing into the experience of living.

*****

hawthorn blossom1

HAWTHORN BREATH
Breathing in: upon a constant stream of moving breeze from the distance in a straight line into the centre of the back (at heart level).

Breathing out: upon the stream as it emerges out of the front of the centre of the chest.

TREE TEA
Hawthorn flowers soothe sore throats. The bark is a mild tranquilliser that can help with fevers and malaria. Flowers, leaves and bark all regulate heart function bringing elasticity to blood vessels, reducing palpitations and giddiness.

******

HAWTHORN GODDESS

Attraction of atoms,
Mesmeric swing of electrons,
Neutron heart –
The yearning of gravity.

The constant dance of suns and planets,
The magnetic tide of the years,
Pulling green fire
Furled from rock-bleak branch.

Lying warm in lust nest
Dreaming of you,
Shining one.

Nesting in warm lust,
Weaving dream,
Shining one.

Clasped together
Magnetic dance,
Heart sharp drop.

Star for stone
Blood for thorn
Bud for spring
Attraction, fascination.

Root to soil
Iron to Pole Star
Spiralling inwards
Spiralling outwards.

Dancing hearts
Bud to heaven.


****

A5hawthorn

MIDLAND HAWTHORN

Expansion into heart, growth, direction, awareness, enthusiasm, fractal patterns, inward expansion, thousand-petalled

Inward expansion
Heart mother
Thousand petals.

Expansion inwards
Open fractals
Thousand petals.

Inner expanse
Heart mother
Fractal patterns.

Inner expanse
Heart mother
Fractal petals.


****
Midland Hawthorn Breath:

Breathing in: bring the breath in to the heart.
Breathing out: see the breath expanding out from the heart as a growing sphere. At its furthest, outermost edge, there is a sense of stars.

****
The Hawthorns all work with the energy of the heart. The heart is the centre, the core, of a thing, the place from which everything expands and originates. The first often gets swamped by the second, the third, the succeeding experiences that explore and elaborate in greater and greater complexity and originality. It is easy to get swept along with the new until there is so much to experience simultaneously that we grow tired of having to make choices, decisions, changes. We lose sense of control, sense of perspective and are overwhelmed by possibilities. Yet we have travelled so far away from where we started that it seems impossible to find a way back to a simple, honest, central point. Midland hawthorn helps us to experience a return to the centre, focusing energy and awareness in one place so that we can see the chaotic whole for what it is. Chaos and lack of order is simply looking at things from an inappropriate distance. Getting closer or going further away patterns will begin to emerge that we can recognise and follow.
Within infinity every possible point is the central point, and within that central point everything else is enclosed: expanding inwards, remaining in the centre, patterns unfolding endlessly. A small tree that becomes the universe. A wavy-edged leaf becomes a map directly to one’s goal. The music of the heart beating.

****

midland hawthornA5

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Downloading

hazel coppice

The message
of the great trees
is communicated from within
and by means of
their great silence.

If you have a wish
To communicate with
The spirits of trees
Then go with a willing
Quietness.

Take time
Just to be
In the presence
And receive packets of information
For later unravelling and
Investigation.

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horse chestnut
Horse Chestnut (White Chestnut)

Agitation, harmonising flow, contrast, difference, clarity, intuition, peace, dissipates excess energy, steady, frictionless, super-conductor, frictionless flow, seamless, silk, candle in a cave, constant flame, smooth flame, wordless place, silk flame, windless place, seamless time.

” silk flame
Still cave
Seamless time”

Like a candle burning in a still cave, the awareness is not disturbed by any outside influences. There is a smooth, seamless flow of energies with no friction or irritation. When there is no resistance, all energies can be harmonised. When we become aware of great contrast it can be difficult to reconcile the difference. This sets up a conflict, an annoyance, an intolerance. Rather than needing to move away to find a more peaceful place, the spirit of horse chestnut resolves the differences within ourselves so that we can be at peace wherever we may be. With an easy flow of energy it becomes easier to avoid setting up repetitive patterns and other symptoms of blocked or resisted energy. One moment flows into another with no neurotic repetition. Thoughts are smooth and reflect deeper perceptions of mind. The body is less agitated and can remain at peace. Excess energy is able to drain away. What is not needed is released. What is not helpful is not absorbed.

Tree Breath Meditation:

Breathe in: as you breathe in, imagine you are pulling air up through the base of the spine in an upward moving, anticlockwise spiral that tightens inwards toward the axis of the body.
Breathe out: relax and brathe out, imagining the breath leaving the body downwards through the armpits.

Mantra:

The mantra to link to this tree spirit is:

GAASH…T’HAAASH. DAA. R. NAA. Y

repeat this to yourself out loud until familiar with the sound of it, then take it inside your mind and let it float there for a while.

The tree itself exhibits a contrast of tense and relaxed, rough and smooth. As it matures the bole of the trunk begins to spiral to the right, though the crown opens out and spreads with heavy boughs. The leaves are large, rough fingers held relaxedly downwards on long, smooth stems. The white, candle flowers appear in late spring and ripen into heavy, spiky fruits that fall in autumn to reveal shiny brown chestnuts.
Rich in tannins, these fruits are used in many cosmetic skin products as they ‘tone’ and tighten the skin. Internally, horse chestnut restores tone and flexibility to blood vessels and is used to prevent varicose veins and reduce haemorrhoids.

This tree is now a familiar and welcome sight in many parks and public spaces of the world, but before the end of the 16th century it was unknown. At this time it was found in a small mountainous area between Greece and Albania and was soon introduced to stately homes throughout Europe.

**
horse chestnut2 copy

the image is of the Tree Spirit Key for the Horse Chestnut.It can be used as a focus for healing or for meditative work.

—–

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Tree at the Earth’s Core.

If you have worries or concerns, particularly with things that are larger than your own influence, offer then up to the heart of the planet with this exercise. A solution or answer may surface in your mind.

Sit comfortably and relax into the weight and gravity of your physical body.

Allow your awareness to sink downwards into the ground and to extend as searching roots.

At the same time as establishing a web of roots spreading in a downwards and outwards direction, visualise and feel a vigorous taproot of your consciousness diving strong and straight, down towards the very centre of the planet.

As your root system becomes strong and established, really begin to focus on that deep thrusting taproot.

It dives through soil, subsoil and rock. It is sure and strong of the pull of the earth’s core. As you attend to this energy picture you may be aware also of many different levels of all sorts of possible scenes, landscapes and matter as your awareness dives towards the heart of the planet.

When you reach that central point of energy, allow as much as you need to flow into your body. You are of the Earth’s body, made of its energy. Be aware of this unbreakable bond with this planet. Allow your awareness to settle and take comfort from belonging.

When ready, allow the imagery to fade and return to the here and now.

***
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Size isn’t everything.

How big is a tree spirit?
Rather like a physicist looking at an elementary particle, time and space, the means we have to measure ‘things’ cannot be used.
Time and space are intimately connected to physicality. Indeed, time is only the relationship of different things in space.
As the spirit reality is outside of our experience of time and space, our measuring devices become unreliable.
Experiencing the energies of tree spirits can be a little like carefully examining an object but not knowing whether we are looking through a telescope at something very large or looking through a microscope at something very small.
Our attitudes to what we experience may well vary depending on what assumptions we make.
So qualities of size, questions of appearance, questions of relationship to others – of individuality, and so on – all ways of identifying things that we are familiar with using, become equivocal and changeable.
It will depend upon our state of awareness and our understanding of what we perceive.
It is not a matter of belief, though belief may affect our interpretation.
It is a matter of open contemplation.
Of floating upon our experiences, our sense impressions, our thoughts, without struggling to fit them into pre-existent boxes. Relax and float.
As soon as intellectual or emotional tensions creep in, like floating on the sea, we will sink beneath the surface unless we relax completely, remaining buoyed up by the silent consciousness and shared (understood) sentience of human and universe, you and tree, here and there, big and small.

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Listening to the song of the world that the trees hear.

Find a tree where you can rest comfortably for a while. The size is not important, though a large, mature tree is a little better to start with.

Settle down as close as you can get so that it is possible to relax comfortably. If you feel secure enough then close your eyes, if not relax your gaze and keep a relaxed focus at a comfortable distance.

Begin to relax your body and your breath. If you know the Tree Breath for that species you can begin with a few minutes of practice.

As your breath settles, place your awareness, not in your mind with its thoughts, but at your ears. Whenever your attention drifts inwards to listen to thoughts, send it out again to find focus upon your ears.

Relax your listening, hearing all the sounds around you all at once. (We habitually turn our attention between identifying one sound and then another.)

Now keep your awareness in your ears, simply allowing the one sound of the world to pass into your senses with all the different frequencies and silences knitted together.

Hold in your hearing all sounds, both nearby, inside your body and mind, and those that you hear from the far distance. It takes practice to relax enough to allow all sound to be perceived simultaneously, but this relaxed openness with alert awareness is the open quality of tree consciousness. It helps us to blend with the world and to begin to flow into greater awareness.

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cherry plum closeup

(blossoms of cherry plum, usually the first petalled blossoms in the English countryside, though not a native)

Tree Truth (part 2)

There are about 40 native trees in the British Isles. The figure varies because some authorities do not include some small trees that they consider to be shrubs ( such as hazel, elder, juniper, dwarf willow, the buckthorns). But it seemed to be a logical place to start an exploration of tree energies using the flower essences of those trees. It is something that most people do not think about or consider: all trees have flowers. Not just the blossoming trees, like cherry and apple. Ask someone to describe the flowers of holly or oak, and even though they would probably be able to identify the tree from its leaf, few would be so sure about the flowers. Tree flowers often are small and the drama of their opening, flowering and fruiting go on way above our heads most of the time. Only the showiest tree flowers are more familiar to us because those are the ones we often choose to put in our parks and gardens.

And this was the next conundrum that faced me. Those forty trees ( really less than thirty if one was not to get too fussy about minutiae of very closely related species, like willows), nowadays play much less a role in our everyday environments than species of trees that we have intentionally and consciously chosen to have around us. Naturalised trees are those from elsewhere that have settled down and are quite happy flowering, seeding and self-propagating. Some naturalised trees have been in our landscapes so long, it seems almost churlish to exclude them, segregsting them from those that ‘belong’. Environments change. In Britain, monkey puzzle ( Chile pine) was a native for millions of years longer than the eight thousand or so the ‘natives’ have been around. So too were firs, now only seen in the mountains of mainland Europe. There are ecological reasons why the natives are important. Each ecosystem has developed its flora and fauna as an interactive web of synergistic support. But a horticultural division into natives, naturalised and specimen/park/garden species, though valid at some levels, makes little sense from an energetic and holistic perspective. If we are to explore and understand the spiritual qualities of trees then it would seem to be vital to consider those relationships as they now are. Otherwise there is great danger of becoming historically exclusive, to become zenophobic, even racist, in our attitudes to trees in the same way as we habitually are to ‘foreigners’ and ‘strangers’.

So when I was out collecting tree essences, though I was seeking initially to study the most common natives and naturalised species, if something else came along and grabbed my attention, that was also included. If people understand the energies that they bring into their cities, towns and gardens, then that relationship becomes consciously powerful and sustaining. Humans are also integral with the ecology. To think otherwise is devisive, and more than a little arrogant. Just because one crazy plant collector ( an awful lots of Scots, for some reason), roams the wilds and brings home an interesting/ beautiful/useful tree, that doesn’t make the end result any different than a wind-blown seed or a fruit passing through a bird’s gut. Trees need ( it could be argued, indeed, that they invented), animals in order to get around the planet. The relationship we have with a tree species has always relied upon usefulness and aesthetics. Both these require us to understand the physical and energetic uniqueness of a tree species. The tree presents us with qualities that attract us, we move that tree to other lands, where if the conditions are right, it will thrive. Win win. ( of course, there do seem to be disasters with this sometimes when one introduced species outmanouvres an established species. But this too, is a narrow, short term, anthropecentric view of matters, and introduces value judgements about one living entity over another, a slippery slope!)

Human interactions, our history with trees is a fascinating thing when looked at from a spiritual or energetic perspective. So many serendipitous events, coincidences, unlikely paths have introduced us to some of our most familiar tree neighbours that one would not be blamed for believing that something very peculiar is going on…..

elm flowers

(flowers of elm, hardly noticed as they flower in February or early March. The seeds, if fertilised are much more obvious – a vivid green before most other trees are in full leaf)

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gorse spray
(gorse flowers, now beginning to get a full spring polish on themselves)

A USEFUL PLACE

 

(A stance useful to bring to mind before all Tree Spirit Healing work)

 

1

Nothing in creation is isolated or alone. Every being is part of a seamless web of energy that flows, transmutes and modifies itself in the maintenance of dynamic balance.

 

Illness and disease arise when the systems of the body cannot locate the necessary information or energy for self-repair. Any method of healing simply helps the body to find what it requires for wellness.

 

Trees and other plants have always been our primary healers, and continue to be so today. They physically sustain us by balancing environmental factors (temperature, humidity, wind, the constituents of both the air and the earth), and their spiritual presence brings stability and equilibrium to all around them.

 

Trees, by their effortless balance, remind us of the calm spaciousness of our natural awareness, connected to the seamless flow of existence. Each tree species demonstrates a particular way of achieving balance so that, by linking to them in a very specific sequence a state of disorderliness, chaos and suffering can be alleviated within us.

 

2

Getting oneself into an appropriate frame of mind speeds the effectiveness of the healing and allows for clearer experiences. Becoming aware of our connection with the world, acknowledging that we cannot always do everything by our own efforts, allowing help to be offered and to be accepted, all soften up the brittle boundaries that are often put in place in an attempt to keep ourselves safe, but that really only isolate us further from a solution to our pains. Use those preliminary processes that feel most comfortable for you.

 

Take a moment to turn your attention to the breath. You do not need to change your breathing in any way – simply pay attention to the movement of air in and out of your lungs. This in itself will steady and calm both the body and the mind. If you find that there is some turbulence, open your mouth slightly and breathe through it. If you put your attention on the soft palette at the back of the mouth you will notice that, as you breathe in, the air feels cool there, but on the out-breath, there is no sensation. Simply stay with this experience for a moment or two until you feel calmer.

 

Imagine that you exist as a wave on an ocean of infinite waves, each unique and distinct from each other. Allow your attention to move away from the experience, sinking downwards towards the depths of the ocean. As you descend, your sense of self changes, expanding, becoming more aware of the unseen deep currents, and of other perspectives, other ways of being. You are still yourself, but more integrated with others, able to exchange information and energy easily. Stay at these deep levels until you feel calm and alert.

 

Take your attention to each of your senses in turn. Feel how your body is resting, where it is relaxed, where it is in tension. Adjust yourself so that you become more comfortable. As you breathe in, be aware of the scents and aromas around you, the temperature and feel of the air. Allow your eyes to relax, rest them where they are, just gazing at whatever you are looking at. Simply allow what you see to enter the eyes without the need to focus on anything in particular or to think about what is there. Now what sounds are you hearing? Open your hearing in the same way that you opened your sight. Simply let whatever sounds there are to register in your mind without focusing or dwelling on any of them. When you become aware of thoughts, treat them in exactly the same way – let them come and go on their own, simply keeping your awareness open and spacious.

 

3

The invitation.

 

Asking for help is acknowledging that no one is alone, that life flows from one being to another in an endless flow, that what is required is available when one knows where to look. So, open to ask for assistance from the tree spirits in some simple way. Use the feeling in your heart to simply call for help, or give a simple gesture like a bowing of the head or an opening out of the hands. Then wait for a moment or two before beginning the healing.

 

japanese camelia essence3

(Japanese camellia)

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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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