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How to find peace of mind

People walk among trees near river
Walking among trees near the Animas River in Farmington, NM

As we faced on January 6 perhaps the most dangerous challenge to our country we had ever experienced, when domestic terrorists tried to stop the United States Congress from certifying the Electoral College votes that confirmed the victory of President-Elect Joe Biden, we found ourselves in different locations, different frames of mind, and different levels of emotion.

 

How do we get past that? How do we become a united country again? How do we continue to function with some peace of mind?

 

The people lawfully appointed to handle justice will determine what happens to those domestic terrorists, but how do we carry on? How do we find the peace of mind to perform our daily tasks?

 

Those of us who have developed some proficiency with prayer and/or meditation can turn to that. But not all of us are very adept at prayer or meditation.

 

In those times of agitation, fear, anger, or confusion, it can be helpful to find a place nearby where there are quite a few trees. Take a walk among those trees. As you walk, try to calm yourself by noticing details about the trees – the texture of their bark, the shape of their leaves, how tall they grow, how wide they spread their branches.

 

When you notice such things, you are starting to take your mind off of other things. One of the first steps to practicing prayer or meditation is to take your focus off of those other things and place them on getting into a state of quiet contemplation.

 

That first step can be so hard it may seem impossible. But persevere. See the trees as allies in your efforts to gain a sense of calm. As you keep at it, you may notice that your breathing slows and your mind quits churning quite so much.

 

Give yourself enough time as you walk among the trees to sense that you are calming down. You are beginning to find a sense of peace.

 

Though walking among trees is not the only way to find a calmer, more peaceful frame of mind, it can be quite effective. Whatever works best for you, see if you can practice it a little bit every day. When you do, you will find that peace and calmness stay with you longer, even when you find yourself in difficult circumstances.

 

May you find the way that works best for you and keep practicing it. The more people who do that, the more our efforts will help to expand calm and peace all around the world. Then, when we face dangerous challenges, negative emotions and attitudes will have less of an impact.

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Listening to Trees

Juniper tree in the neighborhood

Sometimes when I need a little extra exercise, I walk through parts of my neighborhood. It's a great way to stretch my legs and strengthen my muscles.

 

There are lots of trees in the neighborhood where I live. Almost everyone has trees in their front, back or side yards. Every once in a while, one of those trees will grab my attention. From past interaction with trees, I know that means they want something from me or they have something to tell me. So I have learned to listen. It may sound strange to think of listening to trees. That kind of listening isn't done with your ears. It's done with your heart.

 

Often, a tree wants me to pray for it or to send it Reiki, which is a Japanese form of energy healing that promotes relaxation, rest, and other healthy things. Getting to do that is one of the joyful things about being a Reiki Master. If a tree wants Reiki, I also send Reiki to everyone and everything in the area that would like to receive it. Reiki can help to provide relaxation, rest and healing to a large area, which is a wonderful way of bringing a greater sense of peace to the neighborhood.

 

If a tree wants prayer, I don't usually know what it needs. I just pray that it receives whatever it needs to find healing and wholeness. I sometimes feel a rush of joy coming from the tree to me immediately after I have prayed for it. It's the tree's way of thanking me and of telling me it received benefits from the prayer.

 

Sometimes trees have something to tell me. Their message is always one of encouragement or support. I am amazed at how much trees feel an interconnection with us, a sense of community in which we all benefit as we support each other.

 

Some people don't feel anything special when they walk among trees. They may have a hard time understanding how anyone else could connect with trees. They may wonder if it's all in our heads. Perhaps they might think we have an overactive imagination or we're just a little bit crazy. But almost anyone can enjoy the shade that trees provide, the perches they offer in their branches for singing birds, the beauty they add wherever they grow.

 

When you walk by a tree, it might be fun to try an experiment. Using your mind, not your voice, tell the tree how beautiful you think it is. Acknowledge it by thanking it for all it provides. Then stand quietly near the tree and listen. You may hear birds sing, branches rustle in the wind, leaves swish together. But underneath those sounds, you just might sense something else, a blip of joy, a rush of love that overtakes you in a gentle way. If that happens, you just might have heard with your heart a thank you coming from that tree.

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