In traditional Chinese medicine health can only exist when there is balance between heaven and earth. All the yang meridians carry energy from heaven to earth and all the yin channels start from earth and rise towards heaven. If there is blockage or excess in any of these energy flows the result is first dis-harmony and then physical illness. I often think of trees when I contemplate this energy template. For sure, healthy trees are reaching towards heaven while being firmly rooted in earth and indeed bringing light and moisture from heaven to nourish the roots.
Heaven is pure because of its tranquility, earth is at peace because of its stillness– everything alive that goes against this principle perishes, and everything that masters and abides by it lives. What is silent becomes the abode of the illuminating spirit of the universe. Emptiness is where the Dao dwells. It is common for people to seek to live this truth on the outside without holding it on the inside, or to grasp it on the inside but then not live by it on the outside. This is very much like the relationship between the root and the branches of a tree. If you approach matters from the root, there is not a single one of the 1,000 branches and the 10,000 leaves that will not follow along. Our spirit (jingshen) is thus inspired by heaven, while our physical form is given to us by earth.
from The Huainan Masters (Huainanzi): “Teachings On Jing and Shen” (Jing Shen Xun), fl. 120 B.C.E.
Each of the 3 trees already in our repertory have very different signatures - (material expression through which we can comprehend their attributes) but still demonstrate this energetic connection between heaven and earth.
Arbutus (arbutus menziesii) is a magical tree which actually completely changes its skin over a seven year cycle just as every cell in the human body is replaced at different intervals in the same period. It’s primary healing gift is to resolve homesickness and to nourish Spirit. Resonating with the Liver and Lung channels of TCM it carries the memory of the intention of the journey of our Spirit in this incarnation (Liver) and provides us with the stamina and integrity to fulfill our mission (Lung).
Poplar (populus tremuloides) is like a thousand tinkling bells when the breeze caresses its heart shaped leaves. Its primary gift is to help us to contact Spirit – that quiet place within us that knows what to do and where to go. It resonates with the Triple warmer channel and through it keeps the network of energy and information in our Body/Mind flowing and connected.
Silver Birch (betula pendula) is like the great way of the Tao. It provides and demonstrates “strength in yielding” – a notion perhaps somewhat foreign to our western consciousness. Nonetheless most of us will have at least one occasion in life where we find that no matter how hard we push we will keep hitting a brick wall. Silver Birch is for fertility and conception in the physical sense it is also for the conception and manifestation of new ideas which help us to fulfill our Soul purpose.
In their own unique way each of these essences support us to know and to fulfill our purpose. The message from Silver Birch sums up their potential.
I am soft in my strength. I yield to the wind. I bend to the ice.I move with the energy of “what is.” I am the face of the feminine.Let me show you how to be flexible in the face of challenges.Let me show you how to dance the dance of life.Let me impregnate you with the seed of possibility
in each new moment.Let me show you how to tap into and fulfill the
blueprint of your life.
Right now there is a lot of turmoil here on the west coast around logging an old growth forest at Fairy Creek. People are sad and angry because these trees are irreplaceable. I remember when we lived in the city and our neighbours decided to remove these amazing poplar trees to protect their plumbing. These trees had been outside our bedroom window from the time we moved into the house. I felt bereft when they were removed. It was as if a friend had been taken away.
Trees are essential to our human survival on planet earth. Not only do they contribute to the quality of the air we breathe, they provide comfort and beauty in our environment.
I once had one of my patients go and sit by a tree after his acupuncture treatment. He was suffering from extreme anxiety and he found that it was both comforting and soothing to sit with a tree. He began incorporating this practice into his routine when he found his stress escalating.
Our newer Meridian Tree Kit has one essence which resonates with each of the 12 meridians of Traditional Chinese medicine. I recall that one of the promptings to create a new kit was a request from a former student to make a Yew essence for a friend who was dealing with cancer. Pacific Yew (taxus brevifolia) resonates with the Stomach channel and it supports our ability to digest not just nutrients but all the thoughts and feelings of our life experience including our response to dis-ease. Its message is
You can digest and transform absolutely
anything – physical, emotional, or mental.
Tap into the innate intelligence in every cell
In your Body/Mind.
Our beautiful Canadian Maple (acer macrophyllum) is the tree essence which resonates with the Liver channel in TCM and supports us in the exuberant expression of our full potential. Its message is
My seeds fly on angel wings. There is always help and helpers for youTo manifest your full potential.All you need do is ASK.
So for this month of June let’s celebrate trees. Notice a tree. Sit with a tree. Listen to a tree. And yes, even ask a tree to assist you with your own unique journey.
With love and blessings