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The Wisdom of Trees

tall redwood trees with sky peeking through for tree meditation

Getty/Stewart Watson

Discover the wisdom of the trees with a grounding tree meditation script and audio.

I live on a farm on the central coast of California with two small groves of towering redwood trees. I visit one every morning when I walk my dogs, stopping to stand amidst the trees, tilting my head up to look at the sky through their branches.

I spontaneously engage in a kind of tree meditation as I lean my back against each tree, tuning into its strength before I press my cheek and chest against its thick bark to give it a hug. My arms would need to be much longer to fit all the way around its circumference, which makes me feel like a young child embracing a beloved grandparent many times my size—comforted and protected.

Planting the Roots of Tree Meditation

I have always been drawn to trees. As a teenager living in an 11th-floor apartment in Manhattan surrounded by concrete, I identified with the lone, thin tree confined to a small square of soil cut out of the sidewalk in front of my building. Deeply craving the greenery and freedom of the countryside, I soothed myself by reading poems about trees and forests.

The well-known researcher Dr. Suzanne Simard got her PhD in Forest Sciences because she wanted to understand why forests have felt so powerful to her since she was a young girl. She also wanted to help protect them. Her groundbreaking discoveries include many of the ways trees communicate with one another through underground fungi networks, and how they help each other by sharing resources. Hub trees, or mother trees—the oldest and largest in the forest—are especially important to the ecosystem because they act as central hubs for vast below-ground mycorrhizal networks.

In her popular TEDx talk, Dr. Simard assures us that everything in the forest is connected and communicating. She said, “Most of us have forgotten that we’re connected to each other and to nature—that we are one. Nature is not some separate thing, but an intimate part of us.” She believes that trees perceive many things in their environment and that it’s very likely they are able to feel the presence of humans when we’re nearby.

Redwoods live 500 to 800 years on average, but many survive for 1,500 years. Giant sequoias can live 3,000 years or more. That means we can touch trees today that carry the wisdom of when the earth was a very different planet. Contemplating the long lifespan of trees and practicing tree meditation can help settle our minds and put the day-to-day dramas of our lives in perspective.

Why Tree Meditation?

Hilary Nicholls, a powerful energy healer who leads nature-based guided meditations for healing and insight, believes that nature speaks to us and reflects our true nature. “There is a strong longing and need in the body, mind, and heart for peace. When you lean into a grandmother tree, she is ready to receive you—to offer you rest and give you strength. She can help spark your growth, deepen your roots, branch out your creativity, and reach your light.”

Trees symbolize wisdom, stability, shelter, growth, and renewal. “You can see the signs of stress, resilience, and regeneration within the rings of the tree,” Hilary explains. “Trees set a beautiful example of gracefully weathering the season of our lives, including times of high winds, heavy rain, freezes, extreme heat, and drought. We can tune into trees to help ground ourselves. Extending our roots and deepening our foundation helps us journey through the storms of our own lives with greater patience and ease.” Hilary often talks about our reciprocal, symbiotic relationship with trees: in the exchange of carbon and oxygen, their exhale is our inhale, and vice-versa.

To help us more consciously embody the wisdom and power of trees, Hilary offers this restorative self-guided tree meditation that we can do anywhere in just a few minutes.

Grounding Tree Meditation Script

  • Close your eyes. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Take a few deep, slow breaths.
  • Now imagine yourself in a beautiful forest, walking around in wonder until you discover your grandmother tree. Sit down upon the earth amongst her roots in a special notch that’s been waiting for you. Lean your back against her trunk, letting yourself feel fully supported.
  • Breath in, feeling grateful to receive your grandmother tree’s strength, resilience, ancient wisdom and protection. Feel these qualities fill your body and heart—your entire being—as you nestle further into her embrace.
  • With every exhale release any stress, worry, or tension. Continue to breathe, slowly and deeply, as you feel the beauty of your connection with your grandmother tree, and through her, all of nature.
  • When you are ready, slowly open your eyes and look gently around. Remember your grandmother tree. Thank her for bringing you back to your true nature of peace and connection.

For a beautiful auditory experience, Hilary has recorded a seven-minute guided grandmother tree meditation set to lovely music. It will leave you feeling calm, grounded and connected to nature.

Give it a listen!

Getty/Jui-Chi Chan
Getty/Jui-Chi Chan


About the Author

Myra Goodman

Myra Goodman is the co-author of the award-winning spiritual memoir, Quest for Eternal Sunshine—A Holocaust Survivor’s Journey...

Click for more from this author.


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