I love this Reflection about how Gurumayi teaches us about how to connect with the Consciousness in trees and through all of nature. I have been applying this teaching for years to a luscious “gold dust” plant that I have at home, which is also known as spotted laurel or Japanese laurel. “Gold Dust,” as I call her, came as a gift to my home back in the 1980s. She was tiny then, barely ten inches high, and now she is about six feet in height.
Over the years, she has generously offered some of her branches for me to give to family and friends. I now consider her to be a great-great-great-grandmother, since her progeny are growing in all parts of the country! Every day I listen to her, and I feel her asking me for water, fertilizer, or just for some company and TLC—tender, loving care. She especially loves to be told how beautiful she is.
Ville St. Laurent, Canada
Hearing Gurumayi’s directions and Jaiya’s reflection is, for me, like a portal into the display and unique language of nature. Gurumayi’s love for nature and her love for all creation is so evident, but the mechanics of how
she loves had been more mysterious to me. From this Reflection, I learned how
to listen and receive nature. I learned how to take time to listen to the Consciousness of the trees and the indwelling Consciousness in all creation. This woke me up to our living universe. I was moved to my core by this Reflection, and I am incredibly grateful to my generous fellow Siddha Yogis for the depth of openness in sharing on this magnificent path.
West Virginia, United States
This Reflection reminds me of my experience with a beautiful old ash tree we had in our yard. Every day after my morning walk I would lean against the tree and look out at nature, feeling the support of the tree. I would talk to and hug the tree. Sometimes I would celebrate all the beauty in my life with the tree. Other times I would tell the tree about my challenges and even cry while I felt it listening, supporting me, and catching my tears. Eventually the tree showed significant signs of age and had to be removed. It was a great loss for me.
Several months later, inwardly I told Bade Baba about the tree and how much I missed it. And then he said something that astounded me: “The whole time you were talking to the tree, you were talking to me.” Wow! Although I still have moments that I miss the tree, Bade Baba’s words expanded my understanding of the nature of the tree and the nature of the Guru and our interconnectedness.
California, United States
Recently I noticed that one of our gum trees had some unusual lumpy growths on it. While these lumps aren’t harmful, I felt that the tree was being burdened by their presence. Inspired by Jaiya’s story, I asked the tree if it would like the branches with lumps removed. There was a feeling deep within me that said “yes.” As I’m not trained in tree pruning, I asked the gum tree which branches to cut and where. I held each branch in my fingers and moved them along the branch until I felt where to cut—guided by the tree. Once all the affected branches had been removed, I felt a sigh of relief from the tree, even though it had been reduced by half its original size. When I stood back, I noticed that the shape of the tree had been maintained and matched the surrounding gums. This experience has given me a greater understanding of how to connect with nature in a shared mutuality of love and care.
I recently bought a new home with two trees in the front yard: a crepe myrtle and a tupelo. The arborist I consulted was very positive about the crepe myrtle, but not the tupelo. As a result, I easily connected with the crepe myrtle, but held back from connecting to the tupelo, primarily seeing the “faults” the arborist had pointed out.
After reading this inspiring Reflection, I was drawn to come close to the tupelo. I instinctively put my arms around it in a hug. I was surprised to find that this tree felt full of love and seemed to have a huge amount of love to give to me. I felt as though the tree had been collecting and holding all this love, standing patiently and waiting to share it. I look forward to what awaits me as I continue to cultivate a relationship with this generous tree.
California, United States
Jaiya’s Reflection confirmed my own experience from 2019, following a destructive wildfire in our area. A big bulldozer was brought in to knock down the trees surrounding our burnt house. Now these trees had survived a raging fire, so they stood proudly. My heart was breaking as I listened to them fall crashing to the ground. I was screaming on the inside. I was surprised at my reaction, but I couldn’t help it.
When the driver asked if I wanted the trees on the other side knocked down, I immediately said, “No thanks,” and reassured him that he could go. I couldn’t wait for him to leave!
The next day I returned to the trees still standing. As I walked among them, I heard the sound of an ocean. When I looked up, mystified, they were rustling their leaves from top to bottom as I walked past, each one in turn. I was amazed since there was no wind. As I thought, “What is this?” I felt a huge thank you in my heart from the trees for saving them.
I will never forget receiving their gratitude!
Nana Glen, Australia
As a solo artist who has performed for many years, I know when I’m connecting with an audience and am being listened to. Where I live we are blessed with many trees—beautiful tall gums, rainforest trees, and planted trees. Sometimes when I rehearse on my veranda, I have the same profound experience of connecting and being listened to.
Once, in 2014, I was leaning my back against a huge, ancient river gum for a photo when suddenly I felt the tree fill me with its love. It was so unexpected that I burst into tears; the experience was similar to when I experience Baba’s and Gurumayi’s love. Since then I’ve begun to communicate with trees and plants. I have one special tree who shares his wisdom with me and I feel blessed.
Reading Jaiya’s words, I now realize that even though I’m not physically near Gurumayi, I have been receiving her teachings intimately for years. It has given me a new appreciation of the Guru-disciple relationship and how subtle and universal it truly is.
Lismore Heights, Australia
I am so grateful for this exquisite reminder of my connection to everything.
I love trees, and I had a mental understanding about relating to trees with love. However, reading Gurumayi’s teachings here brought this knowledge into my heart. I feel that Gurumayi’s wisdom has deepened my practice of being present with nature; I can feel myself opening more to the awareness of the divine within everything.
I see that Gurumayi’s words are awakening my senses, and I am more able to embody this awareness. This is a divine, blissful experience!
The morning after reading this exquisite Reflection, I was having breakfast with my toddler son, eager to show him this post as soon as he finished his meal.
Seemingly out of the blue, he turned to look at an arrangement of daisies sitting on the windowsill next to us and asked, “Mama, what are they saying?” I was amazed. Even while he was in the land of dreams, he received Gurumayi’s teachings! Gurumayi speaks, and her words and grace permeate every particle of the atmosphere.
I proceeded to show this Reflection to my son, and his eyes twinkled as I explained the sweet synchronicity.
New York, United States
We recently purchased a home with a very well-established garden, containing awe-inspiring trees, both wild and tamed. I have found it intimidating and have even had nightmares about my failing it. I felt overwhelmed and was blind to its potential gifts.
Even so, I have worked to befriend it, to see its potential, and to understand its role in my sadhana
. I have prayed and given Gurumayi flowers on our puja
. I do talk to the plants as I tend them and look for the treasures that have been hidden, but too often I’ve been less than gracious to myself about my ability to be a steward of it.
Then today, I read Jaiya’s Reflection, which brought me deep peace, and a recognition of how this magnificent property is truly a part of my sadhana
. I will now walk through my yard experiencing its blessings rather than its weeds. I too will use Gurumayi's “tools” and truly listen. I am grateful from the bottom of my heart.
Piers Island, Canada
As soon as I read this Reflection, I knew right away that I needed to spend more time with a certain student in my class who has been going through a hard time. Lately I had been speaking to him from a distance with no positive results.
After reading this Reflection, I sat as close to him as the pandemic-related safety regulations for schools now permit. I didn’t say much, but just stayed present with him. He started working productively. Most of all, he knew I was there for him.
I understood that his difficulties had lessened as a result of my following Gurumayi’s guidance in this way.
Washington, United States
I have come across this teaching in Native American stories but had always wondered whether it was true. Now I will approach the trees and bushes here much differently and more respectfully. I live in a forest and am happy to learn that I can now ask the beautiful trees for their advice on pruning.
Virginia, United States
Now that the days are hot, clouds gather in the evening to release the tension by showing light sparkles, lightning, and rumbling thunder. I told my two-and-a-half-year-old son to keep staring into the clouds to be able to catch sight of the next lightning. As he pressed his cheek onto mine, with both of us being very alert and attentive as we looked out the window, quietude arose and a sense of awe and joy. At that moment nothing else existed but the sky.
Later I opened the Siddha Yoga path website and found this very profound teaching of Gurumayi in the Reflection “Getting in Touch with Consciousness.” It gave me another perspective and understanding of what my son and I had just experienced, and a deeper appreciation for the value of getting in touch with nature in general.
As a yoga teacher I often look to the Siddha Yoga path website for inspiration for the intention I set for each class. This Reflection, “Getting in Touch with Consciousness,” taught me the perfect invitation to give my students: to let their body’s own wisdom speak to them while they are experiencing an asana
. When they allow each joint, bundle of muscle, and inner state to help guide their personal adjustments in the pose, this will ensure that the flow of shakti
, God’s energy, will move through them freely, balancing self-effort and grace.
Michigan, United States
When I read this, I knew perfect teaching, perfect timing. My large jade plant has needed pruning for quite some time. I have been putting it off, thinking, “I don't know how to prune it; it’s too large and heavy to take to see an expert; oh well, it can wait.”
I won’t ask it to wait any longer. I will sit with it and ask it to tell me where to make the cuts so it can lighten up and continue to grow beautifully and happily.
California, United States
I was very moved as I read this. The past few mornings as I sat quietly reflecting and looking out the window, I felt that the leaves of the trees were gently but excitedly waving at me so that I could acknowledge the bliss in them as I was getting in touch with the Upanishadic teaching “I am That.” I look to these trees for reassurance and to affirm my connection with them. They help ground me and I am very grateful for their presence. They affirm my faith and help me keep my love alive.
Reading this Reflection has made me aware that there may be more I can do to give back to them. Now my contemplation will be: how can I take care of them?
Massachusetts, United States
This beautiful Reflection reminds me of how Gurumayi’s teachings, doing the practices, and offering seva
at Shree Muktananda Ashram rekindled the relationship with nature that I’d had as a child. I treasure this connection with nature as a precious gift of grace and a connection to the Self.
I once offered seva
in the Garden Department at the Ashram. I’d had little knowledge of flowers and was happy to have the opportunity to learn more about plants, flowers, and nature. One day I was tending flowers in the greenhouse when I came upon a lovely purple flower. I'd never seen such a flower. I wondered what kind of flower it was and looked around for someone to ask, but no one was there. I stood looking at the flower for several minutes, and finally, mentally, I asked it what its name was. I heard very clearly, “Heliotrope.” I was delighted!
Later someone more knowledgeable confirmed that, yes, it was a heliotrope!
Texas, United States
I was so happy to read this Reflection as I too participated in that 2005 tour of Dakshin Kashi conducted at Gurudev Siddha Peeth by the French ecologist—and it changed my relationship with trees forever.
I have long had three trees in my front garden, and at one point one of them looked as if it were dying. I embraced it and spoke to it with love and kindness. I gave them all some fertilizer, and the following year that tree was the biggest and healthiest of the three. I also gave them all gifts of bracelets from Gurudev Siddha Peeth.
I am so grateful to have received this beautiful lesson. I still buy my trees gifts on special days.
The profound writing in this Reflection touched my heart as it brought me back to when I retired to Myrtle Beach and became a docent at Brookgreen Gardens. There I learned about the different species of plants and what thrives in this zone. It felt as though the Guru had led me to this particular volunteer work, and I could feel the love and the bond between Gurumayi, the earth, and me.
Every day now I check on my plants to see how they are doing. We have a river birch in the front yard that needs tender care and lots of water all the time. So I study about the tree, feed it iron and fertilizer, and make sure it does not get stressed out for lack of water. Gurumayi has made me aware of this part of nature and that it is entrusted to my care at this time.
South Carolina, United States
It’s certainly true that every tree is a living being. When I was a young woman, I used to take a walk through a forest every day after work. Along the way, there was an old tree that looked very ill. So every day, I put my hands on it at the same place. After some weeks I saw that a big heart-shaped form had emerged on its bark—exactly where I had placed my hands. I understood the heart to be the tree’s way of thanking me.
This Reflection brought back a childhood memory of mine. As a child of seven or eight, I remember talking to the plants around my house and hugging trees. I always felt that they were alive and could hear me.
And now? My large stardust plant, which I received in 1983, always communicates with me whenever she needs to be watered or just wants some attention. These living things need us just as much as we need their beautiful presence in our lives!
St. Laurent, Canada
I live on a very steep and heavily forested piece of land. I never walk in the forest because it is a home for many species of animals. I have not wanted to get my human scent on the land so that the deer who birth their fawns there would feel safe and at ease.
It had never occurred to me that the trees might enjoy my visiting them, admiring them, and thanking them for their beauty and excellence. Having read this Reflection, I will now be reconsidering how best to honor this land.
Arkansas, United States
This beautiful account of receiving Gurumayi’s teachings about caring for trees and nature helps me to consider my own professional aspirations in the realm of teaching young people. It has been my experience that the more in tune I can become with their needs for learning, the more successful I can be as a teacher. As Jaiya so keenly observes, it is all about paying attention and offering respect. I will take this beautiful share with me in the years to come.
Virginia, United States
This Reflection offers a wonderful example of how the Guru teaches and how the disciple learns. I realized that I too am learning every day how to see Consciousness in every living thing. I was also reminded of how often I am tempted to rush through things to complete a task, rather than pausing and asking what I am doing and what actually needs to be done.
This is a lifelong tendency that I am aware of, and one that I know that my sadhana
has always been about. So I am grateful for this reminder of the need to take Gurumayi’s teachings to heart and use them to change how I view the world and act in it.
California, United States
As I read the account about listening to the trees, I remembered the trees in my garden that needed attention. I had not been able to be in my garden due to a bad case of poison ivy, but now I was determined.
I covered every part of my body, put on gloves and boots, and went out to listen to the trees. I carefully cut away weeds and branches, and I felt my garden becoming happier. I was happier too; my mind was peaceful, my worries gone!
New York, United States
I was so moved by this Reflection. It reminded me of my experience of nature after I first received shaktipat
initiation. Not only did I see and feel the divine light in my own being, but I could also see it in nature as well, and I could not resist the urge to hug trees. I could feel the trees communicating with me their deep wisdom, silence, and peace. They taught me to be grounded and present.
Also remarkable is my connection with sparrows. On one occasion, I was walking by a table where sparrows were eating crumbs left over from someone’s lunch. They flew away when I approached, but one sparrow remained. Time seemed to stand still, and it was as if we became one as I looked into the sparrow’s sweet eyes. Instinctively I put my finger out and the sparrow sat on it! It was so blissful. We just stared at each other with so much peace and delight.
Massachusetts, United States
I was touched by this beautifully articulated story. It was an invitation to refine my capacity to truly listen to Consciousness in nature, or to anything at any given moment. My mind and heart are newly inspired to move with greater presence and awareness in my environment so that I can see and hear more deeply.
New Jersey, United States