The Two Trees

The Two Trees

There can be said to be two trees of life.

The first tree is the one most of us know better. It is rooted in the “world of men.” The roots originate in action, born of attachment to its fruits. We act to achieve a desired result. Seems natural, right?

Yet by grasping at what we want and avoiding pain, we impede the smooth flow of life. We build a web of unresolved energy that ties us to our past and others around us. It gets much harder to fulfill desires and action often leads to undesired consequences. Our past continues to be regurgitated into life events, seeking ways to be resolved.

Yet all we have control of is our actions – what we choose to do. And how we are with what then happens.

Our attempt to control outcomes ties us to the world of doing, keeping us caught in the cycle of birth and death.

When we go within and discover who we really are, those attachments fall away, uprooting the first tree. Then we discover that we had it backwards. Those roots are actually the leaves of another much larger tree.

Only this tree is upside down. It is called “Ashvattha” and is named for a sacred fig tree which grows so quickly that it is said to change every day. It is the always changing nature of creation.

This is the tree of cosmic life with roots in transcendent being.

The leaves of the tree are Chhandas, the objects or appearance of the world. The stage on which the play of life unfolds. They are the meter of the song that moves the actors on the stage and brings the play to life.

This tree has seasons in the cycles of time. It is said to last through 100 years (a lifetime) of Brahma, the creator. (by common calculation, this is about 154.6 trillion earth years. By Yukteswar calculation, about 1.8 trillion earth years.)

Yet even the cosmic tree of life remains a tree of experience. To be liberated, we must unbind ourselves from that too. Only then are we free to enjoy the fruits of life without being caught by whatever arises. Then we are freed from suffering.

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  1. Jim

    Thanks David. This post caught my attention because I bought some t-shirts in a dept. store about a decade ago with Buddha depicted on them and growing underneath the Buddha was an inverted tree (along with the crossed swords of discrimination).

    “This is the tree of cosmic life with roots in transcendent being.

    The leaves of the tree are Chhandas, the objects or appearance of the world. The stage on which the play of life unfolds. They are the meter of the song that moves the actors on the stage and brings the play to life.”

    Thanks for revealing the existence of this song, its meter, and the meaning of the tree. I am always aware of this but haven’t had language to express what it is (as usual – lol).

    I had been thinking how life becomes infinitely richer once we are able to sync up with it, and how the equation vastly changes.

    From one where fulfillment is somewhat of a crap-shoot, and desires are necessarily tied to the fruits of action, hungry for alleviation from suffering, to one where fulfillment begins to operate in such a comprehensive way, that the mind becomes very still, very economical as a result.

    Fullness quietly becomes the norm. Quite a revolutionary and life-changing way of living; first we flip, and then we flop. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Jim. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      It is a very curious shift, from a long habit of chasing wants and trying to hold onto them and resisting what we don’t desire, to allowing what is here to be as it is.

      And then in that open space, everything that is unresolved flows in to be seen and released.

      After the dust settles, life continues to flow in but now in fullness and fulfillment, unlimited by so many things that hindered it before. It’s amazing how in our own way we were before. (laughs)

  2. Jim

    🙂 Yes. I am always aware these days when I talk or write about unending fulfillment how it sounds almost cliche, like any two bit spiritual teacher who has even spoken. “Bliss, endless abundance, an end to suffering, blah blah blah…” lol

    The crazy thing, it is true! And the crazier thing is it must all be surrendered to regain it ten thousand fold. Tough to surrender when one feels so impoverished already, almost counter-intuitive, but it is the only way out. It also takes a lot of faith, though that faith is strengthened every time success is found.

    1. Agreed. Just had a Skype session with my book editor and he was amazed it was actual experience, not just theoretical. A couple of times I’ve written articles about this, especially around bliss. But it’s hard to comprehend something that is not only outside of experience but in direct contrast to typical experience.

      I feel profoundly blessed top have moved past that.

  3. Jim

    Oh yeah, puts one in a perpetual state of surrender. I remember when I would watch a lot of MMY tapes, and he would talk about bliss all the time, and I took his word for it, but didn’t think that was a practical possibility. Then decades later it became a way of life, and I had to accept it as so. 🙂

    1. (laughs) Yeah, I remember when Lorne talked about perpetual surrender soon after I’d woken up. I’d managed to surrender for the fraction of a second needed to awaken. That only took decades. I couldn’t imagine perpetual surrender. But it develops naturally as we live it and learn to trust more and more deeply.

      Bliss comes along for the ride…

  4. Jim

    Exactamente! Yes, perpetual surrender. At first an oh darn that’s right…and then after a long tedious time, we slip into timelessness and Infinity, which oddly keeps expanding…:-)

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