Today, in the spirit of trying new things for 2021, I hugged a tree.
(It was a guava tree.)
Reasonably smooth, exactly the right shape for hugging and not as cold as I had expected, the whole experience was the exact opposite of what I thought it would be.
In truth, it was like hugging a really, stable, grounded person, the kind who might embrace you and tell you everything was going to be OK. It was nice.
My 9 year-old, who was hugging one of the trees further down the garden, just said it was weird. She was probably right. Kids normally are.
But then I thought of Nikola Tesla, who said that “if you want to find the secrets of the universe, [you should] think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.*“
You see, if all the atoms that made up my body were squished together, they would fit on the tip of a biro. I am basically energy and this is the reason that the Law of Attraction works.
And so, if I was having one of those days where I felt anxious and flighty, every experience I would have that day would reflect that. On the contrary, if I chose to acknowledge that fact and then change it, say, by hugging a tree, I had the potential to encounter a different reality.
It was only when this guava tree became the object of my affection, did I realise just how out of alignment I was. And alignment is everything.
Enter the Taoist concept of Wu Wei. This is a state where things flow and nothing is a struggle. You don’t force anything and yet nothing is left undone. Things come to you effortlessly and easily, all because you know when to act, and when to wait patiently. As Alan Watts so eloquently put it, it is the “the art of sailing instead of the art of rowing”. Life literally is a breeze.
The problem is, on some (very profound) level, we don’t want this. We want to suffer. We love to suffer. We would much rather suffer than be bored. We don’t want to let go. We don’t want to flow. All because we think we know best.
The idea of surrendering to a power greater to ourselves in every situation, to ask for divine guidance, this seems strange. But like a sailor who truly aligns with the elements around her, imagine the blood, sweat and tears you could save if you did. What do you have to lose?
So look at the signs, become aware, pause, and inhale the (salty) air. And then ask whether you need to act.
Very often, problems sort themselves out when we stop tinkering.
So the next time you’re having a less-than-perfect day and you see a tree, you know what to do. I’m serious. Try it.
And then think about how you are going to sail.