'At the Feet of a Master' - Bombacaceae tree, Bangalore, India
photo by Premasagar
Tai Tree: A Method of Attuning to Trees
One way of exchanging energy with a tree is through the practice of what we call Tai Tree, which we have adapted from a practice recommended by the modern day Taoist Master, Mantak Chia. In his Chi Nei Tsang, published by Healing Tao Books, he outlines a procedure for the circulation of human energy with tree energy which goes roughly as follows. We say “roughly” because, in the practising of it, we have changed, simplified, and added to it.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of attuning to trees, please see Attuning to Trees.
1. Begin with a loving greeting, flowing your love towards it, while expressing your appreciation of the beauty of the tree.
2. While standing beneath the tree, observe a few minutes of silence, during which time you become increasingly aware of the tree as a living presence – of its aura and energy and particular qualities.
3. Communicate your intentions clearly to the tree and ask for its permission to proceed. In gauging its response, you may rely on your intuition.
4. You may begin by extending your arms and facing the palms of your hands towards the tree. Extend your own energy with a friendly ‘offering’ attitude. When the tree responds by extending its energy to you, accept it, breathing it into your body with an attitude of ‘welcome’. Let your intuition guide you as you respond to the tree again with another ‘offering’ gesture. Proceed with several of these exchanges. Take your time and really feel what is happening.
5. Remain centred within yourself, neither approaching nor retreating, and simply observe the subtle relationship between you and the tree. Use meditative concentration to become fully absorbed in your concentration with the tree, without actively trying to change or analyze what is going on. Do not try to deepen the communion or lessen it. Control your own energy and watch the tree while the tree controls its own energy and watches you. This is known as parallel tracking. Such a neutral state may occur several times during a session at deep as well as shallow levels of intimacy.
6. Allow the energy field between you and the tree to intensify, thicken and contract to draw and hold the two of you close together. There may or may not be physical movement involved. The sensation is that the two of you are being enfolded in a cocoon of energy while more and more of your inner cores are exposed to each other. Finally you hold each other in an embrace of deep intimacy.
photo by angela7dreams
7. Guide the chi (subtle life energy). As with all Healing Tao practices, it is necessary that you train your eyes and mind to move and guide the chi. This practice is also useful in training yourself to recognize and be aware of the quality of the tree’s energy. Be aware of this energy as it enters your body. Drawing the energy in through your Crown, you can let it flow down through your body to the base of your spine, then down to both feet into the ground, through the ground to the roots of the tree, then up its trunk, and around through the Crown. Feel yourself absorb both the tree’s energy and that of the Earth. You will feel these energies revitalizing you, nourishing your brain, glands and organs. Feel them also purifying your energy, removing negativity, knowing it will be transformed by the Earth, as in composting, a miracle of alchemy. Again, this process may be repeated nine, eighteen or thirty-six times.
8. You may have focused on the receiving and now wish to focus more on the giving. The tree too may need healing and/or benefit from the particular qualities of your energy. As your energy flows from you to the tree, it does so lovingly from the heart. But your gifting can also be more specific. As you follow the flow of your energy though the tree, you will begin to discover more about its subtle anatomy. As you do so with growing awareness, you will become sensitive to where precisely the tree needs healing, locating areas which may be congested, where energy may be blocked. Intuitively, working with both thought and feelings, you can restore the flow of energy and harmony – in accordance with the universal principle, ‘Energy follows Thought’. You can also become aware of the tree’s response to your healing intentions. As you listen to it, it will guide you. It can tell you, as can any other plant or shrub, whether it has a need of specific nourishments or minerals. Assisting in this, you can use kinesiology.
image by Harper Stone
9. Drawing and holding back to end gracefully: Drawing and holding back is very important. It prevents you from absorbing more energy from the tree than you can harmoniously utilize. It also prevents you from draining too much energy from a small or weak tree, or leaving such a tree with too much of your unprocessed negative energy. In addition, it seals off the connections you have made with the tree so that energy is not leaked into the environment after you leave. All in all, it makes for an aesthetically complete meditation and shows respect for the tree. When you have had enough and wish to begin your return to normal consciousness or just to a less deep level of communion, try to do so slowly and gradually so as not to disturb the beauty of what you have just shared. The sensation is one of gradually returning to yourself, sorting out the energy that belongs to you from the energy that belongs to the tree, and re-establishing the boundary between you.
10. Closing. Always end with a closing. The closing is a precise and somewhat abrupt gesture which breaks the connection, locks into place any healing that may have occurred, and imparts a feeling of good will, all within a second or two. The closing may be a movement, a sound, or just a change in the subtle energy field, such as the clap of the hands, or a nod of the head, along with the sounds “Ho” or “Amen”.
11. Once again, thank the tree.
The above extracts are from Gospel of the Living Tree: for Mystics, Lovers, Poets & Warriors by Roderic Knowles, published by (and available online from) Earth Cosmos Press