This awareness that the observer is the observed is not a process of identification with the observed. To identify ourselves with something is fairly easy. Most of us identify ourselves with something – with our family, our husband or wife, our nation – and that leads to great misery and great wars. We are considering something entirely different and we must understand it not verbally but in our core, right at the root of our being.
In ancient China before an artist began to paint anything – a tree, for instance – he would sit down in front of it for days, months, years. He did not identify himself with the tree but he was the tree. This means that there was no space between him and the tree, no space between the observer and the observed, no experiencer experiencing the beauty, the movement, the shadow, the depth of a leaf, the quality of colour. He was totally the tree, and in that state only could he paint.
Photo credit: Friedrich Grohe
awareness, meditation and creativity
5 thoughts on “to be a tree”
Very good, but would it not be better to say ‘the tree is Me’? There is still no separation, but ‘I’, the formless Self, am the only reality: I see Myself in the tree (apparent form), which is not other than ‘Me’… Too many words
Yes, too many words … how about “being treeing?”
Chuckles. Good to hear from you over here Señor Garcia!
No. Only *being*. (But I will say something more about this). Actually, one thing is a (particular) experience, which is timeless, thoughtless, and another talking about, describing, the experience, which is mind or thought -in time. But… who am I talking to?
Not to detract from JK’ observation about the painter, the expression ‘you are the tree` is, or sounds dissonant, and ‘the tree is you’ sounds equally dissonant, or, at least, both expressions are incomplete, if not convoluted (elliptical?). ‘You are the tree and the tree is you’ sounds much better (with or without adding, ‘it is as if… ‘) as describing a spiritual experience, or if you are an artist, but metaphysically it is not correct. Why? Because ‘You’ are not (‘I` am not) a name or a form. ‘I’ am (‘You’ are) formless, indescribable, unchanging, and eternal. Trees, and all objects are, the whole universe is, in Me, but I am not in it, or in them. In my transcendent aspect ‘I’ am not in them.
‘I’ see Myself (reflected) in a tree, as in any other sensory, or subtle, object, since ‘I’ am the only reality. Verbal expressions are always short, inadequate. Does all this sounds too academic?
Again, not happy with it… presumptuous, or short-sighted, or ‘academic’? Will this be a little better (at the beginning)?:
‘The expression ‘you are (he is, or was) the tree` appears dissonant, and ‘the tree is you’ does also appear dissonant, though both expressions are clearly elliptical….’