Is meditating in nature different?
The spiritual history of the East tells us that most of the meditators attained self-realisation by meditating under trees. These seekers meditated under the Peepal tree or Banyan tree available in most parts of India. These two trees have been worshiped because they are regarded more generous than other trees. But as these two trees are not available everywhere in the world, other trees have also been supportive for meditation. And where there are so many trees, it becomes a real luxury for the meditators.
Forests have proved to be the best place for meditation, down the centuries forests have been highly beneficial to thousands of sages of all spiritual streams. That’s the reason many ashrams were built in the seclusion of forests. William Cullen Bryant, in A Forest Hymn:
“The groves were God’s first temples”
Trees are the real givers as they are the most spiritually-advanced beings on earth. We human beings have our likes and dislikes. We accept certain things and reject others. We are always choosing something or the other. But trees don’t have any choice, as Willa Cather wrote: “I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.”
They live choicelessly in acceptance whatever nature provides them. And this is what meditation is. A meditator accepts everything that existence has to offer. He lives in choiceless awareness. This is an essential harmony between a tree and a meditator. The tree does not speak any language, and a meditator also sits in deep silence. The subtle energy of the tree functions as its natural language to communicate with the meditator. This communion goes on for days and months and years. In this unique silence and unconditional relationship, the tree helps open the energy channels and gives vitality.
Trees live for centuries, much longer than human beings. Being in their presence simply means learning a quality of patience — no hurry, no rush, just being content. In one of his talks on sankhya and yoga, Flight of the Alone to the Alone, Osho explains: Sankhya is direct knowing. Yoga is an effort, a doing.
Sankhya says that nothing has to be done; it only has to be realised… Sankhya is like flowering — when a flower blooms, you have no memory of its roots. The roots are hidden in the darkness, under the earth; they don’t even come to your mind. But for years the roots are growing, the tree is growing, and only then does the flower bloom. Perhaps the flower can say, “To bloom is enough.
One just has to bloom, and the fragrance begins to spread. What else needs to be done?” The blooming of the flower is the result of a long process — but when the flower blooms, the process is forgotten. When the flower blooms the process remains hidden. When the final fruition happens, the whole journey is forgotten in its shadow.