This is the top of a mountain in Judaean Desert. The mountain is not very high, less than 450m, but is high enough above the area, so the view is amazing: a large valley with hills scattered on one side, and a deep descent down to the dead sea on the other. Extraordinary view.
Up there, on the top of the mountain, in this very large area of impressive view and wide-open distances, I saw this one tree from far away. Just one. (see if you can find it in the photo below :))
I zoomed in and took another photo, and surprisingly, despite of the distance, I could see the tree well enough.
That made me wonder – the conditions in the desert are rough. extremely hot days, cold nights, and very little rain. When the desert gets rain after all, the ground doesn’t absorb most of it and massive floods are created. When wind starts to blow, it’s often very strong.
What does that require from the tree? As you can see, there is only one tree in a very large wilderness. It must be a very special tree!
I’m not a botanist, but even I can say that the tree needs to be strong, to withstand the heat, the cold and the dryness. It has to endure long waterless days and months. It needs deep strong roots, so floods will not uproot it from the ground. But it also has to be flexible, so when a strong desert wind blows the tree won’t break, but be able to bend with the wind, until it subsides.
Those are all essences we would like to have in our body and spirit. How do we do it? How do we maintain strength and flexibility?
Body wise, it can be through workout. You can build strength and flexibility in any workout you choose. I personally find, that body exercise that has extra value, such as Yoga or Thai chi, also emphasize and show you the way to create this rooting into the ground, this connection that amplifies both strength AND flexibility.
Creating this connection to the ground is very simple. You can check it out HERE.
As to the spirit, there are sooooo many ways. Let’s look at one or two:
If we keep the spirit in contact with the body, often it gets the “food” it needs through the bodily practice. If you are attentive, present with your body, not trying to push to hard but respecting your body and exploring it’s movement, soon enough your spirit will benefit from what your body is already receiving.
Your spirit is strengthening, and is learning how to be flexible: If the body doesn’t allow you to do a certain exercise, if there’s a limitation there, adjustments can be made so the body will be able to participate. The spirit learns not fight against, but to observe, to let go together with the breath, and to enjoy the new adjusted exercise.
When your spirit gets stronger and flexible that way, it is also easier to remember, that sometimes holding on to thoughts and ideas like they are the ultimate truths gets you nowhere. You remember to be open and look around you, to see that other thoughts and ideas exist. Allow yourself the flexibility within this field of thoughts and ideas. It doesn’t make you weaker – this tree in the desert is far from being weak.
So if you would like to have tree qualities for well-being:
Connect to the ground, build and maintain strength and flexibility of both body and spirit.
As always, you can start small. You just start and the rest will follow.