Many spiritual traditions speak of the Tree of Life. For example, the Bible speaks of it in Eden, in Islam it is known as the Lode Tree and of course Buddha sat beneath the Bodhi Tree where he attained his great enlightenment. The tree is a powerful metaphor and archetype throughout spiritual teachings and I have wondered why that is for some time.
Recently, I had a meditation experience that may have answered the question for me. I never say that things are answered for sure, as certainty stops questioning and the potential for growth and learning. Yet it fits in so many ways and I feel strongly that it speaks of the truth.
I was practicing one of the spiritual connection meditations from our book, Nourish the Flame Within, specifically the third in the first series, Connection to the God Force. My experience was that I was a leaf on a tree and that if I allowed my awareness to remain restricted, I was only concerned with my own world and my limited perception. As I allowed my awareness to expand, I became aware of the leaves around me (perhaps a metaphor for family and friends?). Later, my awareness spread to the smaller branches and then the larger ones. It felt like I was connected to community and nation. Eventually, my attention spread to the trunk, the concept of Humanity. Fully aware, I could feel the flow of energy from leaf to trunk and back again, sensing my place and role in Humanity, nation, community and self. It was an amazing experience.
So, the Tree of Life, or the Tree of Humanity, shows that we are an inter- connected whole, each of us playing a significant role. Each one of us feeds the whole and is fed by the whole. Just as the leaf turns sunlight into food for the tree and the tree brings nutrients and water from the ground through the trunk and branches to the leaf, your very existence fuels humanity, while humanity gives you what you need to be your full and magnificent self. Actions of the individual affect all of humanity. This is how a tree works. This is how humanity works. Even though you may not know what good or harm you are doing spiritually, you are affecting things in a small and significant way.
Beyond that, the metaphor allows us to see how broadly the Tree of Humanity is inter- connected to the Universal Whole. Nothing exists in isolation. Water and nutrients in the soil are drawn up by the tree, while ultra violet light from the sun is used to create food in the leaf. Every cell of the entire tree benefits from this two- way relationship. Spiritually we are the same. We are nothing without the power from the earth and the sun. We are diminished versions of ourselves if we isolate ourselves from the Universal Energy of White Light. We are nothing without each other collectively.
Many spiritual teachings show us that an act of kindness is kind to all humanity and that an act of hatred and fear affects all humanity. I am beginning to understand this wisdom. It is easy to become disconnected again after the meditation. The truth is you are always connected, to humanity, the planet and the universe. The meditation is an invitation to become sensitive to this truth and carry it with you throughout your day, to inform all your actions, decisions and thoughts. So many of us seek peace in society and in our own hearts. Perhaps this is one of ways in which we can bring peace to ourselves and those around us. In time it will spread. For now, let us begin with a simple meditation, which starts with a simple breath and an invitation to connect to White Light.