There is a tree outside the window of my office that I’ve grown to love. It is a huge sprawling oak whose branches give shade to 3 different lots. It no doubt was giving shelter and shade long before the buildings that surround it were constructed or even conceived. There are several squirrels that scramble about in this tree, never climbing it from the ground, but flinging themselves into it from lesser trees. One day they play together as if they are children, and the next they chatter and chase each other with a vengeance. I figure that they must be a couple.
As I write this the leaves have just emerged from their twigs, slowly unfurling into the spring sunlight. I project that they are happy to be alive, happy to be green, to be fluttering in the gentle breeze. I enjoy imagining that these leaves have access to two very different states of consciousness. One state is “leaf consciousness.” In this state the leaf is aware of itself as a unique individual leaf, differentiated from the other thousands of leaves that live out their lives on this wonderful oak. The leaf can feel itself being moved by the breeze, notice its identifying characteristics apart from the other leaves, and locate itself on this particular twig which juts out from that particular branch. In this state of consciousness the leaf loves spring, tolerates summer, and dreads fall. The leaf speaks critically about the caterpillar when it is spotted over on another branch, but as long as it stays on other branches, life is pretty good. In leaf state of consciousness, the leaf barely recognizes itself as part of the tree, so centered is it on its own little perspective, and it simply takes for granted the flow of sap that feeds and nourishes it day in and day out.
The other state of consciousness that is available to the leaf is “tree consciousness.” Here the leaf taps into the flow of life inherent in the sap that feeds it. In tree consciousness seasons cease to be of concern as each plays an important role in the overall life of the tree. Fall no longer feels threatening to the leaf that has tapped into tree consciousness, for it realizes that nothing is really lost, that the tree is not less when leaves fall. This tree wisdom gives rise in the leaf to a compassionate attitude towards the experience of other leaves, twigs, limbs, and branches. The leaf senses itself as part of the larger tree, senses itself AS the larger whole, with the health and well being of the leaves and branches on the other side of the tree of as much concern as those leaves on its own twig. It’s little leaf heart opens and the leaf desires to live its very short life out in a way that benefits the whole tree.
You and I are the Tree, manifesting as unique, individual leaves, for the purpose of experiencing Love. When we forget who & what we really are, identify only as the leaf, and care only for our own well being, we, and the whole planet suffers. It is time to allow the deeper Truth to emerge, that we are One, and to allow that Truth to inform and guide the way we live in relationship with each other and the planet.
Thoughts to Consider
At a time of great unrest, confusion and fear in the world I humbly offer you a few thoughts to consider:
All crisis and conflict, individually and collectively, is an invitation to grow and move beyond the state of consciousness that generated it. The pain that we are experiencing in the world: disease, poverty, economic collapse, war and violence all arise out of “leaf consciousness,” a consciousness that believes itself to be separate and in competition with everything else. Belief in separation is the source of fear, fear gives rise to all the many and various forms of control, and control interferes with the natural flow of Universal Will unfolding as Reality, and thus results in suffering. Suffering is not a punishment, but simply an indicator that we are out of sync with Truth, a call to pay attention to the ways that we are out of alignment with our own Essence, an invitation to make needed changes that will benefit our individual and collective lives.
We are in a time of great transition. We and the planet, not separate from one another, are experiencing the pangs of radical change, and this change is generating fear in our minds. But rather than reacting from fear and perpetuating old survival patterns, we must learn keep our hearts open and focus upon and participate in what this change is giving rise to:
• We are moving from duality and fragmentation to the realization of Unity.
• We are moving from fear to the realization of Love.
• We are moving from an emphasis upon form and appearance, to the realization of Essence and Spirit.
Many of you reading this can sense within you both the presence of fear and the deeper calling to be at the forefront of this shift in consciousness, to live from the direct perception of the Unity of all things, to live from Love. I would ask you to make this deeper calling the priority and focus of your life. Set the intention to live more from your heart -- to make your heart your center of operations. Learn to keep it open even and especially when times are difficult. Look for opportunities to expand beyond self-concern and act from kindness and compassion on behalf of another's need. The more you learn to get quiet and listen to the inner voice of inspiration and guidance, the more fear will give way to faith: faith in the inherent goodness of all things, faith in your own ability to heal and grow, and faith in the ultimate supremacy of Love.