Mankind has always been afraid of darkness. For good reason, as this is indeed a place where danger may hide. And yet…
There are other animals that prefer the dark of night, precisely because it offers them safety and allows them to hide from their predators. Or sometimes because they are the predator, and they like to hide in shadows when they stalk their prey.
This post is about darkness of a different type. The type that we find within our very soul. And which we all fear. Or do we? Maybe sometimes we like to hide there, contemplate irrational fears so as not to have to confront the very real challenges that life offers.
My posts are usually about trees, and how they have helpful messages for us. This one is no different, only the protagonist this time will be the forest itself rather than a particular tree. If the woods could speak, what would they have to say about this? Listen then, and hear what they have to say:
I am forest. I am made up of many separate beings, all individuals, but together, they are me. That makes me not so different from you… For who are you, really? Made up from so many different aspects of your psyche, with sad thoughts stalking happy thoughts and trying to eat them…
Now I would like you to try this little experiment.
Start a meditation. Close your eyes. Take some time first to relax, then open your inner eyes.
You find yourself in the middle of a woodland. Look around you. What do you see? Is it dry or wet forest? How close together are the trees? Deciduous or coniferous? What about the wildlife? Do you see any? Mostly birds or mostly ground animals? Or is your focus more on worms and insects?
This is your inner forest. Walk around in it. Greet the trees, connect with the animals. Is this a place where you would like to live? Why?
Now, sit down. Concentrate on your own feelings. Notice how changing your focus changes the forest around you. Not just in obvious ways. For your forest is an ecosystem that constantly tries to restore its balance.
Think an unhappy thought. Focus, just for a moment, on something you worry about. How does the wildlife in your forest react? Do the seasons change? Anything about the vegetation?
Try to see this as a method of divination, a way to speak the language of your soul.
How is this helpful? The forest is a representation of you, your subconscious self, but is more than that: it is you, in a way that is disconnected from your everyday self. That makes it more neutral. You may notice that for some negative thoughts, the forest barely reacts. This can tell you which of your worries are illusionary, while others may actually threaten the survival of the forest, even as you downplay them.
Learn to speak your inner language. Use it to connect to your roots. And may it help you remember that the nonhuman world is so very closely connected to you. And as you learn to connect to your inner forest, do not forget that the ones growing on this planet need your attention as well. And maybe, just maybe, your newfound communication skills will serve you out there as well?