Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Teachings of Money Trees

About five years ago I bought three Money Trees for my apartment. I really love indoor plants – the green, living vibrant and natural flare has always been very pleasing to my aesthetic and pranic preferences. Also, I was told that purchasing, repotting, and placing money trees in your home would increase wealth and abundance.

[I should note, my scope of work, wealth, and abundance in all areas of my life has increased. I should also note that a lot of hard work coupled with every internal and external abundance practice in the human canon including, but limited to, chanting, visualization, goal setting, and prayer have also been engaged. I cannot confirm or deny the effectiveness of Money Tree abundance. I can, though, confirm that they’re pretty, and bring me joy.]

Observation through time is for me a favorite, well, pastime. I have sat for hours watching the Money Trees grow. I have watched them over months and years take on personalities, different shapes, sizes, and attitudes – grow.

A consistent habit of the Money Trees is to constantly orient the topside of their leaves towards the light in the windows. Every few months I have to rotate them 180 degrees to liberate their dark, oily leaves from the windows towards the interior of my apartment to enjoy the tops of their leaves. And surely, over time, they turn themselves to the light.

Being who I am, a Chauncey Gardiner (Chance the Gardener) type human, I have rested with this for sometime. There is a clear and simple observation: living nature seeks the light.

Tree Teaching 1: Living Nature Seeks the Light.

It is a part our make-up, our biology, our being to seek that which makes us grow, makes us whole, makes us thrive. When we orient ourselves to the light, we grow towards the light.

It would be easy to stop here with this nice-simple-Siddharta-like-observation and move on with my day. I though am also a Raul Duke type (it balances and the Chauncey in me), and I tend to indulge (a lot), obsess, and over think.

In contemplating the light that the shiny, oily, dark outer surface leaves direct themselves towards, I began contemplating the darker, quieter interior of my living room that the lighter, softer, underside of the leaves rested in. A second teaching began to emerge: living nature, in its pursuit for the light, does not reject the darkness; living nature rests in the darkness. Money Tree

Teaching 2: Living Nature Rests in the Darkness.

A lot of spiritual traditions focus on the light while rejecting the dark. Even in traditions where the darkness is an explicit part of the path, like the mystical traditions of the west and the tantric traditions of the east,
I find that more talk is given to the darkness than true experience and embrace. In certain terms, this is because human nature tends to want to feel good, and typically the darkness does not feel good, at least as good as the light.

The darkness is the past, pain, indulgence, unsacred, sacrileges, excessive, and unconscious. In our attempt to turn towards the light, the darkness is often rejected, hidden, obscured, and denied. This leads to all sorts of issues, challenges, and future pain. Like the Money Trees teach, the darkness can never be abandoned – it’s a part of life, and one half of the paradox of light, of seeking. Resolving the darkness and resting in the darkness is one side of the ladder of spiritual growth.

Resting with the darkness begins with simply being with the feelings that the darkness, the past, the pain and challenge that unconsciousness has caused. Letting go of the thoughts, theories, and mental universes we construct around the darkness and simply resting in it is to begin the practice, the true practice, of light. Otherwise, the practice of the light is simply avoidance of pain (and, in that sense, you might as well be a junky), not freedom from it.

In the Buddha’s myth of liberation, as he sat contemplating human nature and freedom under the Boddhi tree, he sat unwavering for days while demons taunted and challenged him. The demons are the darkness within; the indulgent, unconscious aspects of self. Like the Buddha and my Money Trees, rest with the darkness, and turn towards the light – this is freedom.

Kristoffer Nelson | Krama Consulting & Development, Inc. |