It was fascinating to learn what a universal icon the Tree of Life is. There is something about a tree - any tree - which so beautifully reminds us both of the cycle of life, and that the whole of creation is inter-connected, in a very profound way. Without trees, there would be no life on this planet.
It is a symbolism which can be used in so many ways in the spiritual life, by considering yourself as a tree, and asking some searching questions (most of which I remember from the Build Your Own Theology course):
- What is your spirituality rooted in?
- Which roots from your past have influenced you?
- Had you considered that much of the work of the spiritual life goes on at a sub-conscious (roots) level?
- What is the main foundation of your faith (trunk)?
- Consider the different elements of your faith / spiritual journey (branches) - what fruits have resulted from them (beliefs and actions)?
- Look at the discarded leaves on the forest floor - which parts of your spiritual lie have you left behind?
- Consider that every fruit contains seeds, which need to be planted in fertile soil in order to grow and bear fruit in their turn.
He also emphasised the importance of living by life-giving values (Shalom), rather than by legal, head-based rules. All this was presented with beautiful images of living trees, which are so essential to the healthy life of our planet. It was a gentle, challenging, holistic day, with lots of time for reflection.
I feel blessed.