I find more and more pleasure in the company of trees. Ojai, the place where I live, is something of a village, though it is called a town. Nature here is very powerfully present and I get to hang out with it every day. Every day I notice the presence of trees more strongly and distinctly, their personality, their energy is more palpable than that of many human beings I know.
As I walked my dog the other day down a deserted street lined with beautiful old oaks I felt like I was walking down a crowded street, and I realized that the presence of those oaks is so strong because they are so strongly present. They are so very much themselves.
I have written about this before, I talk about it again because it seems such a crucial distinction at this particular moment in time. I saw that the trees are completely present as themselves. They grow according to who they are, their shape is dependent on who they are, their size, color, twists of branches, are the result of who they are. Only of who they are. Nothing else.
I realized, while being present with the trees, that the way they are is the exact opposite from the way mind is. Mind defines itself based on the outside. This is what mind is, the defensive relationship to the "outside". And as long as we believe we are mind – so are we.
When I first came to America I had no idea what to do with myself. I was 26, I left everything in Poland, I had two suitcases filled with clothes and a husband. I spent a year doing nothing, trying to figure out what it is that I want – and I couldn’t. It was the most amazing sensation: not knowing what I want. I could not understand how it is that I don’t know that – shouldn’t it be the most fundamental, the most obvious, the most accessible piece of information? I mean it’s me! Who would know what I want if not me?
I realized years later that I know what I want, but my mind doesn’t. I know what I want – my mind knows what I should want. I do what expresses who I am – my mind knows what I should do to fit into the system. My mind knows how I should look, what job I should get, how I should interact, how I should relate in order to "make it" in reality, in order to "be successful", to "be rich" to "be famous" to "be safe" – but my mind cannot tell me what to do to be me.
This knowledge lies with me only, the real me, the God. And as God, I create myself and my life as an expression of who I am. There is no one and nothing that can tell me how to do this. There is no religion, no teacher, no organization, no smart-ass Pausha writing blogs, no book, no system, no government, no parents, no friends … no one and nothing can tell me who I am and how to express myself in reality.
Trees don’t need to be told how to grow. They grow. They are who they are and they expand, grow larger, more distinct, more beautiful, more engaging. They are more and more themselves with every passing moment. They don’t need help to be themselves, they don’t need teachers, support, encouragement – they are simply who they are. No amount of systems, economics, market rules, moral values are going to influence the shape of a branch or the color of a leaf. No amount of approval or disapproval, judgement or praise, is going to determine how the tree grows. The tree grows how it grows. The tree is only itself, defined from inside – not outside.
I observe how reality changes lately, I talk to people who get lost in those changes. People who do everything "how it should be done" and it doesn’t work, They don’t get the results that they were supposed to get. They ask me what they should do, what actions they should take, and every time the answer that comes to me is: What do you want? What do you want to express? What do you want to create?
Who are you?