The simple practices of Forest Bathing and of ancient Qigong work with trees has great healing benefits, now widely documented in Japan. Among many other effects, the stress hormone, cortisol, is significantly decreased in test subjects after a walk in the forest. Ancient insights and current research note that the cells of the roots and rootlets of trees and our brain cells have similar functions and parallel structures: we are “inverted trees” with our brain on top while trees have their functional brain in their roots.
Try this tree meditation: choose a tree and take a little time to silently get to know it. Then go and stand under its canopy. Breathe deeply and relax. Start feeling / uniting with the roots of the tree as they spread under the earth and under your feet. Gradually, connect with the entire root system of the tree. Make sure that the bottoms of your feet are open. Continue to breathe deeply and relax, gently sustaining your open connection to the tree: continue to connect, now with the tree’s entire living system: its root system, its trunk, its branches and all its leaves. Do you learn something new about this tree? Do you learn something new about yourself? Continue to breathe with your new friend for a little while longer. . . How do you feel now? More relaxed? Refreshed? Thank your tree, enjoy your newly found quietude, and feel free to visit your tree often!
For more on Qigong meditation and symbiosis with nature practices, see our upcoming Taoist Meditation retreat with Dr Mao Shing Ni in April 2020