The Tree Meditation by Dr. Sunita Rai
by Sunita Rai
Guided Meditation Track can be found here
Welcome to the Tree Meditation.
Sit comfortably on the floor or in a chair. You may also choose to stand to do this practice if it makes you more comfortable. Now gently close your eyes and feel the weight of your body on the floor or in the chair.
Gently bring your attention to your breathing. Noticing every single in-breath and out-breath as you inhale and exhale without the need to change or manipulate your breath in any way.
Your breath is vital. It is always with you. Bring a sense of curiosity to every single inhalation and exhalation.
As you inhale and exhale, notice the parts of your body where you experience your breath the most. Perhaps it’s at your nostrils, throat, chest or your belly. As you breathe, observe how your body responds.
Now bring to your mind a giant and vibrant tree with green leaves, flowers and fruits. Picture the entire tree in your mind as you sit or stand here.
Slowly, shift your attention all the way down to the tree’s roots. Noticing the shape and size of the roots, some visible on the ground and some beneath the earth. Observing the strength and stability of these deep roots.
Now gently shift your attention towards the trunk. How massive is the trunk? What is the texture and colour of its bark? What makes it strong and stable?
How do the leaves look like? Notice the details on each leaf. It’s shape, veins and colour. And perhaps observing if each leaf is of the same colour perhaps different shades and or uniquely different.
Picture the image of the whole tree from the leaves to the branches. How are the branches flowing outwards from the tree? Which direction or directions are they reaching towards? Are they of the same size and thickness? Perhaps some of the branches are broken.
And now noticing the flowers on the branches. What do the flowers look like? What colour or colours are the flowers? What fragrance does the flower release? Are some of them withering and are some of them are perhaps full of life waiting to transform into a fruit?
Are there any fruits? If yes, how do the fruits look like? What is the colour, shape and texture of these fruits? Are they edible? If yes, how do they smell and taste like? Are some of the fruits overripe and perhaps rotten? Notice each fruit on your tree.
Are there any birds or insects on your tree? Perhaps on the branches or flowers or perhaps near the roots. What is the species of these birds? Notice their size, the colours of their feathers.
What sounds are there around the tree? Perhaps the birds are chirping or you can hear the sound of the wind. Notice the variety of sounds with a sense of curiosity and accommodation.
Look around your tree. Are there any other trees around? How are they similar or different from your tree?
Observe your giant tree all the way from its roots to its canopy. What is the shape of the canopy? Is it a round, oval, conical or shaped like an umbrella? What is the shape you see?
Look further up and notice the bright blue sky and the clouds. What are the shapes of the clouds? Are there many clouds or a few? Noticing that the sun’s rays are falling down on the tree casting a shadow. And the gentle wind blowing on the branches, leaves and flowers.
As you rest here breathing, focus on the entire image of your tree in your mind’s eye. And when you feel ready, bring this tree inside of yourself completely, so that your being merges with the tree and you become one with it.
You are now this massive tree. You are strong and resilient. Your deep roots allow you to weather any storm. You are stable and rooted. You are connected to the earth. You receive what the earth provides with acceptance and you warmly contribute back to this earth.
You allow the birds or insects to be with you, with kindness and accommodation. You allow the other trees around you, some similar and some different, to just be with acceptance.
Now sit or stand here upright like the tree trunk. Keep your feet firmly rooted on the ground. Your being is non-moving like the roots. Your arms are like the tree branches, flexible and yet strongly connected to the trunk.
Noticing the rays of the sun on your face and your skin just like how the sun kisses the tree daily with its warmness. And the wind blowing on the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits.
You are standing or sitting tall, centred and grounded. You are peaceful and appreciative of what you have and what nature has provided you with. Whenever your mind feels disturbed by negative thoughts or anxieties about the future or regrets of the past, you look up at these thoughts and see them as visiting birds that perch on the tree to enjoy the fruits. They come and go as they are guests. They leave when they want to and new guests may arrive. You are standing tall, stable and grounded in spite of the presence or the absence of these birds but not becoming them.
You are this tree. You are unique in your own way just as every tree is. You are non-judgemental of the other trees and appreciate their presence in your life. You thank nature for providing you with her nurturing company and being part of her.
You notice the changing weather and seasons. You experience them with a sense of gratitude for renewing your self over these years just as the brown leaves fall away and give way to new leaves. You are thankful for the seasons as they prepare you for experiencing life in fullness. All these seasons have groomed you to who you are today. There are low moments and there are high moments in your life. You appreciate each of these moments.
You stand or sit here firmly without the need to go anywhere. You are exactly where you should be. You are exactly how you should be, with awareness in every moment.
As you sit or stand here in meditation, you can learn to experience the tree in your daily life, you can embody the same rootedness in the face of everything that changes in your life now or over the years.
So, in the time that remains, continuing to sustain the tree meditation on your own, in silence, moment by moment, until you hear the sound of the chime to open your eyes and continue the day with a sense of stability and resilience.