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Gardening Resources What You Can Do Embracing The Trees
Our Relationship to Nature and Trees

Excerpts from a talk given by Ahlaya during the New England Nature and Yoga day with Swamini Ambikamrita Prana, June 2023

Bee in flower


We can feel the energy of trees, in their expression, as an aspect of nature. Their rhythm is long, slow efforts. Their qualities are gentleness, trust, surrender. When we trust in the longer-term cycles of nature, we can feel less anxiety, discouragement, and striving for recognition for the ego. We can plant our seeds, or saplings, offer gentle, consistent care with self-surrender, and feel aligned with Nature’s cycles and God’s grace.


You may have heard of forest bathing, which was developed as a practice by the Japanese, who call it Shinrin Yoku. Very similar to what we just experienced in our meditation. The practice is to spend time in a natural setting and consciously tune the senses to the environment, allowing the mind to quiet. The senses can be a bridge, allowing the inherent peace of nature to affect us. Part of the practice is to invite wonder, and awe.

I read an article about forest bathing on the website of Kaiser Permanente, the medical company. The anti-stress and healing benefits of spending time with trees, and with nature, is so scientifically validated that it is even promoted by an insurance and medical company.


Spending time with trees is beneficial for the mind and body, and can help us to develop spiritual qualities. Caring for a tree teaches us lessons such as patience, compassion, and self-surrender. Planting and raising a tree is a truly selfless act, for while we may enjoy its presence in our own yard, it is primarily a gift for future generations. Future individuals, communities, other vegetation, and wildlife, will benefit from a tree far beyond our own effort to care for it.

Bee in flower


Ultimately, I think it is the beauty of the selfless act that will be most healing for nature, for our planet, and for us.

We can grow by mirroring the qualities in nature of self-sacrifice, forgiveness, surrender, graceful acceptance of change, and interdependence. Embracing the Trees wants to encourage the development of these qualities, and it doesn’t have to be through austerity or hours of meditation.


The essential energy of nature can be perceived as joy, or divine bliss. By devoting attention and effort to relating with nature, such as planting a tree, growing garden vegetables, or engaging in an eco-meditation we can consciously connect with the essence of joy.

Nature easily expresses divine joy, as it has no mind to confuse it, as we do. Our minds can loosen their grip a little, allowing some space to open up like the branches in the tree canopy.

Imagine the bliss of the leaves, as the soft wind blows through and dances with them. Imagine the joy of a tree hosting bird and squirrel families, year after year, nourishing so many other parts of nature with their shade, with the body of their trunk, with their fallen leaves and seeds. Just by being themselves, trees embody the unique joy of selfless giving.


I believe this is the bliss that Amma wants us to connect to, and Embracing the Trees is just one more of Amma’s infinite ways to help lead us there.

Forest path


Read Mary Beth's Satsang on the Selflessness of Bees in the Q4 2023 Newsletter >>

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