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Meditating with the energy of trees & plants

Trees & plants have a living presence that is almost entirely unpolluted by any kind of thinking or conceptuality. As a result, contact with them helps us get out of our head and into our being

Dear Integral Meditators, 

Trees and plants are aspects of our environment that can really help us with our meditation practice, and our discovery of good quality presence. This weeks article looks at different ways of relating to trees and plants in a meditative way. 
If you enjoy it do consider coming along to the Tues or Weds class this week, as it will be part of the subject of the sessions.

In the spirit of plant allies, 

Meditating with the energy of trees & plants

The peaceful allies in your neighbourhood and on your balcony
In your neighbourhood there will be people. They will be thinking quite a lot, you can talk to them, some of them might make you happy, some might be irritating. Not many of them help you to be still and connect to peace. In your neighbourhood and garden, you will also find trees and plants. If you make the time to connect with them, sitting nearby them, sensing their energy, getting a sense of their presence, you may be surprised to find how quickly they help you to find a sense of inner stillness. All of them have a living presence that is almost entirely unpolluted by any kind of thinking or conceptuality. As a result, contact with them helps us get out of our head and into our being. As Eckhart Tolle says:
Look at a tree, a flower, a plant.
Let your awareness rest upon it.
How still they are, how deeply rooted in being.
Allow nature to teach you stillness.
When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself.
You connect with it at a very deep level.
You feel a oneness with whatever you perceive through stillness.
Feeling the oneness of yourself with all things is true love.’
Creating a tree grove
As well as connecting to trees in the immediate vicinity, you can also connect to trees and plants inwardly. When I was doing my Druid training, one of the central practices that we had was to create an inner tree grove where we would imagine sitting in meditation before doing our studies or engaging in other meditation exercises. This grove can be one that you know in the outer world and you imagine yourself traveling there in meditation. Alternatively, it could be one that you create with your imagination, or that you take from a dream experience. Either way, sitting within a grove or group of trees in meditation can be a very powerful way of moving into a deeply still and yet energising state. You can either do it as a meditation in itself, or you can use it as a preparation for a subsequent meditation.
Meditating with the energy bodies of trees and plants
You can meditate with the energy bodies of trees in a way that is also very strengthening. It can be done either sitting outside with trees of plants, of in an imagined group of trees as in the grove practice above. Here are a few pointers for how it can be done:

  • Begin by simply acknowledging the presence of the tree/s or plants, either in the physical or inner world
  • Sense your own energy body, same shape and size as your physical body, inhabiting the same space, but made of light and energy. Sense the light body of the tree/s you are with. Feel their roots reaching down into the earth, drawing light and energy from the body of the earth up into the trunk of the tree. Feel the light and energy from the earth rising into your body also.
  • See and feel the branches of the trees reaching up into the air, drawing down the energy of the sky and stars into the trunk. As they do so, feel the energy of the sky and stars flowing down into the crown of your head, lighting up and energizing your light body.
  • Let the flow of energy in the trees and the flow of energy in your body enhance each other as you breathe and relax. You can move the energy wherever you like in your body, according to the part you feel might feel healing or balancing.

If you like you can combine this meditation with elements of the Linking your energy body to environmental energies from my previous article. There is plenty of room for play, improvisation and enjoyment.
Related articleStanding like a tree

© Toby Ouvry 2023, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

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Starts Tues/Weds April 11th/12th , 7.30-8.30pm – Meditations for thriving and energy creation – An eight week course

Saturday 15th April 9am-12.30pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self Workshop

Saturday April 29th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Saturday 13th May 9am-12.30pm – Psychic & Psychological Self-defence half day workshop

Tues 30th/Weds 31st May – Wesak meditation

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The Way of the Rat

Dear Integral Meditators,

If you look at my website, articles and workshops, you’ll see there is quite a lot of material on transforming difficulties, re-directing negativity into positive energy and so on. Who taught me all this? Well I had a meeting with a rat 14 years ago that set me on the right track…

Yours in the spirit of fur and claws,


The Way of the Rat

When I first came to Asia as a Buddhist Monk in 1999, I stayed for 6 months or so in Johor Bahru at a small Buddhist Centre, whilst making regular trips into Singapore to explore the possibilities of setting up a meditation center there.
Over the 2-3 days of new year period 2000-2001 I was at this small centre, pretty much all alone, and at the time having doubts about my capacity to do the work that I had been asked to do. The meditation center was an apartment on the top story of a shophouse, with the stair well being the only way in and out.
During this period of aloneness and self-doubt, a large rat ran up the stairs from the street and disappeared under a cupboard before I could scare it back out. Realizing I was stuck with it for the night, I shut my bedroom door firmly before bed!
The next morning I was sitting meditating on the floor in the main shrine room, deeply relaxed, when suddenly I felt this pressure on my knee. I opened my eyes and this big rat had crept up on me and now had its front paws on my knee and was staring up at me inquisitively. He only had half of his fur, and was clearly a bit worse for wear! I had actually been in quite deep meditation, and so having a big rat suddenly leaning on my leg and staring up at me really shocked the cr**p out of me! I jumped up very quickly with a yell and he then ran off and hid in my bedroom.
I never saw him again. After checking he had moved out from my bedroom, I left front door open that night, with the metal gate shut, and I think he must have just gone down of his own accord when he found there was nothing much to eat!

Qualities of the rat
My encounter with the rat was the beginning of a series of experiences where I became aware that chance meetings with animals were actually playing and active part in my spiritual path and journey. This was a time in my life where I had really been thrown back on my own resourcefulness and capacity to survive, persist and problem solve as intelligently as I could. What better a companion, example and object of meditation could there be for me than the rat, an animal that survives and thrives in the most difficult, dirty and persecuted of circumstances?

Looking out for animals in your life
If a dragonfly flies through your window and spends a couple of hours with you while you are cooking dinner, or you go for a run and see a snake in the path, it’s worth just exploring what the qualities of the animal are and how its virtues and strengths could be applied to the challenges that you are going through right now. You may find it surprising how quickly your mind can free-associate a tangible and useful meaning between the qualities of the animal and what you need to do.

Re-awakening to our intimacy with the animal kingdom
For our ancestors living close to nature it would have been natural to feel close to animals (to both love and fear them), and to see spiritual meaning in their interactions with them. I think contemporary society has numbed our sense of intimacy with the natural world, but looking out for the coming and going of animals in your life in the way described above can be a first step toward re-awakening our own intimacy with, care for and support from wild creatures, even the dirty ones that live in our drains!

© Toby Ouvry 2013, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website