I have been living in nature, in the woods, off the grid going on 4 years now. Something has happened to me spiritually that is hard to define. But I feel very at home under the canopy of the trees. I also feel very connected to everything around me. I know that most who read this will not understand and some will think I am a nut, those people would be correct 😛 aren’t we all a little crazy anyway? But the other day, I was outside raking leaves into piles and burning them. We need to keep our walking paths and the areas around our cabin leaf free because as it is winter the wood stove can easily discharge a spark or ash that can ignite dry leaves causing a fire.
As I raked around some small cedar/evergreen trees I also decided to start pulling dead leaves from the beautiful evergreens. The leaves will fall and get caught up in the trees as they retain their needles. All of a sudden I heard what was a little like a voice speaking to me but internal, more like subconscious speaking style. I can not recall exactly what was said at first, but I did manage to understand that I needed to drop the rake, grab my pen and paper and write what I was feeling down. So here it is:
Are evergreen trees the reincarnation of all trees? Maybe evergreens are what all trees become once the equivalent of enlightenment for humans happens to them. Are we witnessing the equivalent to samsara (the cycle of birth-life-death), for humans when we look at trees? All trees that are not evergreen die and live again each year over and over again until they reach nirvana (the end of samsara) and end their samsara at which they become an evergreen. You see the tall oaks and hickories and such trees have to die each year. Then they are reborn in the spring as that tree again. It’s as if the tree, we can physically see, is no more than a shell, like our bodies.
The spirit of the tree is an energy just like we are. When we die we are reborn human over and over until we finally transcend samsara and reach nirvana at which we become a buddha. So the energy leaves the trees every year leaving the leaf-less shell to be used by the next existence. That tree’s “self”, energy comes back as a tree again in spring, year after year. Once that shell, that tree, dies permanently and falls over to go back into the earth, that shell is no longer needed, like our bodies when we die. That tree’s energy/soul, is reborn as the EVERGREEN tree which does not die each year, losing it’s color and leaves.
This is because once the Buddha reaches nirvana, the evergreen, there is no more dieing. So the evergreen tree is the equivalent of Buddha in the tree world. The evergreen tree has found enlightenment and gone beyond suffering and therefore does not have to live in samsara any longer.
What happens when the evergreen falls over and dies then? Is there an existence beyond even buddhahood? It’s like the universal energy is telling me, showing me, that it is time to learn more, it’s time to move on in your practice merlyn, there is more you must learn. Looking over the forest now I see tall oaks, hickories and the like. I also see evergreens. But now, due to this moment, of enlightenment, I see the tall trees as something like people and the evergreen trees as something like Buddhas. Maybe the trees cannot see the evergreens, as we can not see the endless Buddhas walking about us, only we can see the evergreens.
And maybe we can not see the Buddhas walking around with us, but the trees can! I do know that I am connected to the evergreen tree spiritually. This is why I do not like cutting them down and always want to leave them. I can see that my Buddha nature would be connected to that Buddha nature. I do not know what happened that day other than I believe that I was given a realization when I touched the tree’s branches as I cleaned off the dead leaves. My intent was good, I respect the evergreen trees and did not understand why, now I feel I have decoded why, with the help of some transfer of energy from the tree to me. I am very thankful that I am one with nature.