Tree Meditation, Still as a Mountain


Trees are a treasured source of energy for practicing meditation. The

solidity of a tree, its roots connecting it with the energy of the earth,

is a quality that is emulated by the practitioner. One has only to look

at the roots of a tree growing near rocks or a sidewalk to realize that a

tree has the tremendous power necessary to buckle concrete and separate

stones. As long as our arboreal friends are not injured, they seem able

to live for an indefinite period of time. For the Chinese, trees live in

close harmony with the Tao.


1. You can practice with a tree in your backyard or any natural area.

The energies of trees are most available at dawn or dusk, but they can

practice with you at any time. In general, select a comfortable standing

meditation posture as close to the trunk of the tree as possible.


2. If you are in a wooded area, walk slowly and visually scan the area

without focusing on any single object. Wait for one tree to select you

by suddenly becoming the attractive focus of your attention in a way that

differs from all the surrounding trees. You will know when you have

found your tree because you will feel more inclined to practice with this

tree than with any other you have seen.


3. Once you approach your tree, notice from which direction the sunlight

is falling on its trunk. If you feel tense and have recently been under

a lot of stress, you may want to stand in the tree's shadow, which

heightens the convergence of yin energy. If you feel weak or have

recently been ill, you should stand in the sunlight. In any case, you

should always try to stand on the most level area at the base of the trunk.


4. Whether you stand facing the tree trunk or away from it depends on

the size of the tree and your personal preference. If it is a small

tree, you may be able to partially encircle the trunk with your arms

without actually touching it. A larger tree may ask you to stand with

your back as close to it as possible without making physical contact.


5. Relax by feeling yourself breathing with the tree. Feel every part

of your body gently expand and contract as you inhale and exhale

naturally, smoothly, and softly. Experience the feeling that there is no

difference between you and the tree. Maintain this feeling as long as

you can.


6. If you get tired but wish to continue your meditation, sit down with

your back against the tree and close your eyes. Imagine that the

pressure of the trunk against your back is your own spine and that

tremendous energy is being transmitted into your body. Continue as long

as you are comfortable. The same exercise may be done lying down with

your head against the base of the tree, using leaves for padding if the

bark is too rough for the scalp and neck.


7. When you have completely returned to your own body, place both hands

against the trunk of the tree and slowly inhale and exhale 21 times, or a

bit longer. Mentally transmit your own energy to the tree through your

palms while exhaling, and take in energy while inhaling. You will know

that you are doing this correctly when you feel a slight pulsating

sensation directly in the center of your palms.

You may later return to this particular tree or choose another. Feel

free to improvise and experiment, because you may find a particular way

of practicing with trees that allows you to integrate more completely

with them. Let your own body and the tree be your guide, for there is no

set routine to follow. You are attempting to draw energy by integrating

yourself with nature; therefore, do what seems most natural to you.

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Subject: TH: tree meditation

The following tree meditation was found in a book entitled Still as a Mountain, Powerful as Thunder, written by Y.P.Dong. It is a simple Taoist exercise for healing, vitality, and peace of mind.