Imagine A Great Oak Tree...
Below is a story that I first read several years ago. Actually, it is more than a story. It is meant to be a meditation of sorts. It is comprised of language and imagery that intentionally pulls you away from your external reality and into the inner landscape of the mind. Perhaps all good storytelling does this, but meditations are unique in that they are designed to guide you through an internal shift. This one in particular shook things up for me in a big way. Perhaps it will for you, too.
Imagine a great oak tree. It knows where it stands, and it holds powerfully to its position. But it doesn't defend its position; it’s simply there. You can drive a car into the massive trunk of the oak tree, and the car will be smashed while the tree remains standing. It's not standing against you, and it doesn't take your destructive behavior personally. It just remains rooted…focused…present. Unconditionally. Now imagine that you are the oak tree... How does it feel to be so powerfully positioned? Isn't it nice to know that no one can uproot you? Would you even bother to resist? Or would you simply relax and enjoy being right where you want to be? Next time you feel uprooted by behavior, emotions, or any other conditions, remember the unconditional presence of the oak tree. Stand rooted in the ground of infinite well-being. There is nothing to resist. All is well.
The author, Scott Noelle, is a writer and parenting coach I first discovered when my son was a baby. His advice has rippled through every relationship I have, including—most importantly—the one I have with myself. While he focuses primarily on the parent-child relationship, he encourages us to find our true power, which can obviously be applied to every situation, not only parenting. We must choose (or better yet, surrender to) balance and joy. So basic, yet so profound and challenging.
I’ve come back to this story again and again since I first read it. Anytime I feel out of control or victimized, I remember that car crash on the oak tree. Despite the disturbance, the tree remains poised... unperturbed... equanimous. I then remember that nothing on earth can provoke me without my consent. I feel peace, strength, and joy.
Imagery, affirmations, and meditations are so powerful for me. I can almost always close my eyes and follow along, drifting away from the chaos and into the peaceful center deep inside. And I believe they can be invaluable tools for the journey of yoga. Yogas Citta Vrtti Nirodhah--yoga is the stilling of the waves of mind. Scott Noelle reminds us that we can surrender to that stillness. He essentially summed up the work of yoga in one beautiful little tale. I'm so grateful!
If you have any powerful meditations like this one, please share!