Today we move above ground to consider the trunk of the tree. The trunk is the core from which the branches grow and protrude, and together with the leaves provide the tree’s identity. As Thomas Merton wrote in New Seeds of Contemplation, “The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like God.”
As you know, trees are always growing and changing with the seasons. In the late spring/early summer many of them have shoots springing up from the base of their trunks or sprouting out of branches which have been cut back or broken. These shoots are diverting energy and growth away from more established parts of the tree. In the same way we all have things on our hearts and minds that could distract us or hinder our time of reflection.
One way of overcoming this is through the following exercise:
I would like you to draw some shoots at the base of your tree’s trunk. Then Imagine that each shoot is something that is currently on your mind, that you need to let go of, so that it will not distract you during this time of quiet and reflection.
Either scribble over each one in turn or write a key word that sums up each concern beside it. When you have done so, be still for a few moments in God’s presence.
Now turn your attention to the trunk. What condition is it in? Mature and strong? Vulnerable and weak? Storm damaged or weather beaten? Jot down the key words for you on or beside the trunk.
We can read the previous weather patterns in the rings of trees. These rings can show us the temperatures, storms and sunlight of different growing seasons. In a sense the same is true of us. The seasons that we travel through shape and mould us and the impact of storms and challenges serve to transform us, into who we were created to be.
“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” Thomas Merton (@MertonDaily on 6/9/201