Maybe the tree is just raw materials for books and houses. Maybe it’s just a block to new construction.
Or maybe the tree is safety for birds and squirrels, or shade when the sun blazes, or defense when the torrential rains come.
Perhaps the tree is a cosmos of atoms, perhaps it’s a living counterpoint to us oxygen-breathers within an ecosystem, perhaps it’s a living spirit of the earth that raises its shaggy crown as a prayer.
Perhaps the tree is divine provision for the chosen Children of God. Or, perhaps the tree is a shackled and slumbering spirit on a journey to enlightenment.
A tree has many aspects, many approaches, many different truths that entirely rely on the observers. For the truths are truths of the observers, not the tree.
Perhaps you and the tree are the same thing, both of you aspects of the universal consciousness standing in mutual regard.
Perhaps you dream the tree. Perhaps the tree dreams you.
Each time you look at the tree, you either look at your mental representation of it or the tree itself. The state of being awakened is having clear vision, unimpeded by mental constructs. It doesn’t matter so much whether you find grace or beauty in the tree, whether you feel regarded by the tree, whether you can fathom the unity between you and it.
It only matters that the tree is not merely a symbol in your mental filing cabinet… that you can sit companionably with the tree. That is the essential relationship of you and the tree.
Lately, I’ve been entranced by the way the leaves of a tree gleam as the sun sets. The purest light reflects off the top of them, jewels more radiant than the morning dew’s sparkling orbs. I’ve had many different relationships with that tree, my tree, with myself.
The tree and I hold conversation in the birth and death of days.
The truth of the tree is also the truth of your dissolution into the divine, the eternal, the immutable. It matters little whether you find in you the whole universe and know that you are that universal consciousness, Brahman. It matters little whether you think of yourself as a recovering sinner in service to the Lord, a soul working through karma and hoping for the Pure Land of the Buddha, or merely a ripple in the cosmic pond. It doesn’t even really matter whether you think of God as a universal, as a living presence, as a consciousness, or as the fountain of love.
Do you sit companionably with the divine? Do you hold conversation in the birth and death of days?
Now that matters.