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Tree-Centred Practice, Part 1.

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Being Beside Tree

Human Doing & Human Being

'Doing' things can be a lot of fun when we are doing things that bring us joy. Doing things can generate a feeling of closeness between us and the other thing we are engaging with. Doing things that are creative and educational can enrich our day to day and build consistency into routines. When thinking of the 'doing' things, I always come back to the foundations on which Human Doing is built. And these foundations are the Human Being ways. With Human Being coming before Human Doing, and 'ways' coming before 'things'. We must first Be before we can Do. And even before that we must know what kind of Being we are and what our Being needs from us to be expressed as our true nature. Often we get a bit backwards, focusing on the 'things' and the 'doing' of them before we focus on the 'being' and the 'ways' of them. To know our true being we must turn in, sensing inwards and locating our felt-senses. These senses are deep within our body and they know the whole truth of us and our natural ways of being. When we know our ways of being, then we can enjoy the doing of things that express our ways.


Human Needs

We may have been influenced or conditioned in our lives, and all of the other ways that can interfere with our soul. We journey our life accompanied by cycles of injury and healing and somewhere in-between we try to live and grow, looking for various ways to try and have our needs met. Basic human needs concentrate into three core needs, the need for survival (air, food, water, sex), the need for connection (communication, familiarity, stimulation) and the need for safety (protection, shelter, comfort). These needs all contribute to our sense of self-preservation. Interference with our soul may result in us seeking to have our needs met in the wrong places, we may try to meet those needs inadequately, or dismiss meeting our needs completely. We may at times live in a strange disconnected way that slowly erodes our self-preservation.

Trees can and have provided for many of our human being needs since the very beginning. Providing air, food, water, shelter, medicine, protection and a sense of connection. Trees meeting many of our core needs have supported the perseveration our physical and spiritual self. Trees have always held a sense of the sacred for our beings. People have always gravitated towards and travelled to be with trees, seeking wise council and wisdom, or hoping to receive illumination either alone or in groups. We are never alone in the company of trees. Trees offer a connection to nature and the physical world and to the spiritual realms. It is human nature to want to 'be beside tree'. And this being beside tree, not only suggests a need to be in close proximity to trees and the places where trees are. But also, and most importantly to be present in our own truth of sensing our being. Allowing ourselves to be present with our soul in the company of trees.

Trees welcome us to keep company with them. With all of our parts and complexities. We do not need to be an embodiment of enlightenment to keep trees company, we only need to show up and be real. The more time we spend in the company of trees, the more we will feel inner peace, the more we will gravitate towards harmony in our lives and the more we will develop our attunement to our felt-sense and the felt-sense of those other beings outside of ourselves.


Reciprocity in Relation

Being beside tree is the very fist physical step we must take. Being physically beside trees creates elemental synchronisation of the body with nature. Keeping company with trees is good for the mind, emotions, body and soul. Let us consider the reciprocity in relation with trees. We can initially make our way to being beside trees to try to save ourselves, an attempt at our self-preservation. We desperately want to feel something real and natural. The more we journey out to be beside trees, the more we will feel less driven by our needs and more in tune with our felt-sense searching for relational depth experiences. And this is where we want to be. In a place of authentic presence of 'Being'. This is where we will experience the knowingness of the being of the tree. This is the sacred space of reciprocity in relational depth. The sensing field of the human being encountering the sensing field of the trees. Felt-sense touching felt-sense. Magic.


Trees Speak

Being beside trees in a tree-centred practice is can be viewed as a spiritual journey or a lifestyle or both. In the beginnings of a Tree-Centred Practice we may feel an unfamiliar urge to tell the trees everything. We may find ourselves telling the trees about our experiences or what we are worried about that day. This may feel strange if we are not accustomed to viewing trees as listeners. These thoughts and experiences we share with trees would normally live trapped inside of us in an endless dialogue. They are the voices of the parts of our being. Parts that have great depths beneath the surface yet dominate and demand our attention. When we share our thoughts and feelings with trees we feel lighter, unburdened and more open. Now we have done our part. But what about the other voice in the conversation. The voice of the trees. We may find ourselves listening intently, trying to sense into what response may be there for us from them. We may wonder if we are hearing the trees speaking to us or if we are listening to our own body parts responding to our enquiries.


The Felt-Sense

The solution rests within the felt-senses of the body. The messages from the trees will embody a unique quality of communication. To know the language of trees is to recognise how this quality feels for each of us individually. A quality that will be distinct from our own felt-senses, yet equally mysterious. Something like listening to an unfamiliar language, yet a language we can recognise through animation, drama and expression of feelings. Trees communicate in something like this way. Learning to understand the language of trees is also a journey of understanding the language of our own body and soul parts. We don't need to be fluent in both languages, only willing to engage and learn a little at a time. And as with all cherished companionships, a choice made by us to take care of that relationship. The more we tune into our felt-senses, located beneath these attention seeking parts, within the deeper sensuous depths of our being, the more we will experience relating to others from the locus of our felt-sense. And our relation with trees will reach far deeper depths. As well as our relation with all others in our lives.


Keeping Company

Tree-centred Practice focuses on the ways of being beside trees and keeping company to their beingness. Although these ways cant be achieved without us also encountering our own mysterious depths along the way. Keeping company with trees initiates symbiotic connections and so we realise that we can't know the tree spirit without knowing our own spirit. And when we notice the felt-senses of our own body, we can't not notice the felt-senses of others around us. The two are connected. The magical truth is, all of these senses are already within us and these interactions are happening now. We simply may not be listening well or not feeling well. There is a community of aliveness within us, waiting for us to notice them. And to notice, to participate in these wild conversations and give them our listening ears. Is to step through the gateway into the magical realms. The felt-senses within us, within all other brings, these are the true voices of nature, and they, we inhabit a wild place that we are native of. We have only to make that choice to care for these relationships and allow them to grow.

To keep the company of trees, is to keep company to ourselves.

Yours in the heart of the woodlands.

Mags Black.

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