There is a forest inside each of us. Just as we are a part of the forest, it is a part of us. The world soul, Anima Mundi, is, according to several systems of thought, an intrinsic connection between all living things on the planet, which relates to our world in much the same way as the soul is connected to the human body. We find references to the concept in several religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, opines Radhika, adding, time in the forest can bestow us with a deep spiritual healing that goes beyond our physical body. We are introducing a new weekly column, every Monday, exclusively for Different Truths.
It’s the same dream every time, I’m in a forest, a place I’ve never been before but one my soul already knows. The trees are enormous, their canopies so thick that sunlight barely filters through to the dimly lit forest floor. Their roots dig deep into this world of ours, grounded. There’s a thousand birds singing at the same time, declaring their existence in a world as complex and passionately beautiful as it is fragile and un-predictable. Each time I wake up, I lie in bed thinking of this forest and how it has always felt like home.
There is a forest inside each of us. Just as we are a part of the forest, it is a part of us. The world soul, Anima Mundi, is, according to several systems of thought, an intrinsic connection between all living things on the planet, which relates to our world in much the same way as the soul is connected to the human body. We find references to the concept in several religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism.
I find my self-drawn to nature each time I need to recover from the drudgeries of life and to soothe my soul. I feel a need to lay and wonder at the night sky, to witness the rise and fall of my breath, much like the ocean tides, to stay motionless like the oaks and deodars, to sometimes flow like a forest stream, to stand witness like the mountains and grow wild like the plants.
Time in the forest can bestow us with a deep spiritual healing that goes beyond our physical body. Forest energy is incredibly restorative, relaxing, and soothing. A walk through the wilderness, hugging a tree, sitting by a river or gazing at the mountains is therapeutic at the very least.
It’s in the wilderness where we hear the ancient voice of the Earth, singing an ancient song, one that precedes human kind. Singing of the truth and mystery of the cosmos, of the interconnectedness of all beings, of the rhythmic pulse of the Anima Mundi.
For centuries, mother earth, Gaia was looked upon as a living entity supporting a web of life, in which each of us was embedded and connected deeply. However, during and post the Scientific and Industrial Revolution, all non-human life came to be seen as a commodity to be exploited. Materialism was the driving force of our planet, and rapidly obliterated all opposing belief systems. This also led to a profound sense of alienation, since human beings no longer had any real bond with the earth.
Perhaps we create these artificial barriers between humans and animals, between animals and plants, so that we can use them indiscriminately and without care, without considering the suffering that we are subjecting them to.
As we are just beginning to understand non-human consciousness, the sentient nature of trees is being studied across the scientific community. Latest research revealed in the book Hidden Life of Trees shows how in a forest, a family of trees is interconnected by a web of roots below the soil, hidden from our eyes they communicate with each other, taking care of their families, helping nourish the weak and sick, holding memories and surviving united as one super organism. Just like us humans, each being is an energetic living force who is part of a complex and beautiful web of interrelationships. We have so much to learn from them.
Old Tjikko is a 9,560-year-old Norway Spruce, located on Fulufjället Mountain in Sweden. The Spruce has stood testimony to history, to the rise and fall of kingdoms, to the great revolutions and struggles for freedom. It has also witnessed humans moving far away from nature and in turn far away from their own selves.
Ancient texts confirm how trees share a long history with humanity on the path of enlightenment. Scientific research on human consciousness in the recent years validate the parasympathetic impact of trees on our nervous system. Trees are always in a state of meditation and their natural language involves radiating subtle positive energy. Gautam Buddha and several other sages attained enlightenment sitting under a tree. So the next time you see a big Banyan tree or a Peepal tree, take a few minutes to sit and meditate under it. You may never be the same again.
Photos sourced by the author from the Internet
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