Simple Service: Admire the Trees
Humanity’s love affair with trees is a long-standing one. As Joyce Kilmer confessed, “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree” [unless, of course, it’s theosophy . . . but I digress]. What follows is an appreciation of what trees give to the world, and then an invitation to humanity to keep the symbiotic magic flowing by giving back to trees.
Trees give so much to so many
When TS co-founder Henry Olcott’s physical vitality became depleted from rigorous healing activities (he said the ganglia around his spine felt “empty”), he rested for five months, with no improvement. Then one day, while looking at some pine trees, he remembered hearing of an Adept in Tibet who makes a habit of sitting with his back against the trunk of a pine tree, absorbing the tree’s energies. Olcott decided to give it a try, and felt completely healed within two days.
In her 1905 book, “Ilusions,” Mabel Collins tried to set straight the common misunderstanding that nature is indifferent to humanity. Nothing could be further from the truth, she said, and she told the story of a man who was at a low point in his life. He was lying at the base of a tree, utterly agonized by hopeless grief, when “the silence of nature became speech.” The man related how the spirit of the tree bent over his prostrate form and touched it, saying in a voice of intense pity, “Poor human being!” You can imagine his surprise—he slowly stood up and leaned against the tree in a state of amazement and wonder. He recalled that the healing and strength he felt from the tree’s pity and companionship became a turning point, and after a little while, he was able to continue his life’s journey.
Dora Kuntz (former President of the TS in America and a co-developer of Therapeutic Touch) was a clairvoyant who knew that sick patients can be helped by trees. She suggested that patients “touch or lean against a tree. By doing so he will be renewed in energy and calmed by the tree’s stabilizing rhythm.”
Scientists might point out that trees, like all plants, supply us with oxygen. Children think trees are good for climbing. Birds and squirrels know trees as “home.” Insects thrive on trees’ delicious sap. We know that trees provide beauty, and we seek their shade on a hot day. Trees provide so much to so many, that the idea of giving something back to them and helping along their development strikes me as a simple, pleasant form of service.
We can give to trees
What’s the best way to help along the evolution of a tree? Simple appreciation. Just appreciate the tree, and try your best to feel that your life is the same as the tree’s life. Your appreciation also brings you in closer touch with the tree’s deva, the intelligent spirit whose purpose is to help the tree evolve.
Dora spent a great deal of time at Pumpkin Hollow, a theosophical camp in New York. She suggested that we try to lose our sense of separateness from trees and plants. We humans see the form of a thing first, and only then look at the life and energy inside it. Devas see the vital energies first—the “harmonics and rhythms of nature are most important” to them, Dora says. She suggested that we can form a bond with a tree deva by “letting go of our preconceptions, and learning to be still and listen.”
Illustration: Tree spirit as described by Geoffrey Hodson to an artist
In 1933, Geoffrey Hodson, another well-known clairvoyant and theosophical author, was visiting the Indonesian island of Java on a lecture tour. Visiting friends there, he had an opportunity to interact with a tree deva. The lady of the house had planted a waringin tree in her yard 15 years earlier. She had a particular fondness for that tree, and Geoffrey noticed that the tree deva occupying it was “unusually aware of and interested in the family who lived in the house.” Although devas do not truly have gender, their form often takes on a female or male appearance. This deva, he said, resembled “a lovely girl, about seventeen years old with rosy, force-built form, golden ‘hair’ flowing back from the head, and a beautiful aura shining with delicate hues.” He described her “permanent, if somewhat childlike happiness, which rises on occasion to ecstasy.” She lodged mostly in the upper portion of the tree, but her aura was constantly moving throughout the whole tree, and she could move at least 50 feet from it. When she moved above the tree, she remained connected to it by “lines of light like strands of fine silk.”
This deva’s chief purpose was apparently to help the tree develop a “pseudo-individuality.” By doing this, the deva evolved her own consciousness as well, and the family’s affection for and admiration of the tree helped both the deva and the tree. Geoffrey’s hostess said that she loved that tree, and received from it a sense of rest; but she was not aware of the presence of the deva until Geoffrey pointed it out to her. They began experimenting together to see how best to communicate with the deva.
The lady began sending a stream of love toward both the deva and the tree, which was met with an instant response. The deva’s aura “shone out brilliantly with a white and rose radiance, enveloping the aura of her human friend.” The lady’s loving energy did not dissipate quickly, but stayed within the aura of the tree and was used by the deva to quicken the tree’s consciousness. He said that simple admiration for the tree opens the way for this communication, and the loving energy sends a “slight but observable thrill” throughout the entire tree!
Dora had evidently tried the same experiment with the same result, and she suggested that we might pick out a tree, and “have a really friendly feeling towards it.” In doing this, she said we would come into closer touch with devic consciousness.
When we admire the beauty of a tree and send friendly energy, the tree itself is helped in its evolution. The tree’s deva evolves more quickly toward individualization. And the person sending the appreciation is brought into a state of harmonic rhythm. It’s simple: everybody wins.