In a polarity session this week, I was reminded of the powerful way that nature teaches us about neutrality and how this can be such an incredible resource for empaths.
Perhaps you have had a time in your life when someone you deeply cared for was suffering. It can be difficult for anyone to witness this, but for an empath who feels other people’s pain as though it was their own, who carries the depths of others sorrows around in their own bones, it can be downright debilitating.
Even when one knows how to differentiate between their own pain and another’s (the first step in not getting overtaken), it can still be hard to let them have their suffering without trying to hold it for them. Especially in familial or intimate relationships, it is common to think that we can somehow help those we love through their trials by taking their problems on. Even the most emotionally or spiritually intelligent people do this at times, as it is part of our learning.
As I sat with my wise empathic client on this occasion, I was reminded of an experience I had many years ago with a tree. The image just popped into my head in the way that only a medicine story would. I felt my heart softening as I spoke of it.
The story took place during a moment in my life when I was overtaken with feelings of deep sadness for the earth and how humans mistreat it. I was particularly heartbroken over the way trees are carelessly massacred without any thought or respect for their sentience. I wanted to know how the trees could deal with such rampant death and destruction. Were they angry? Were they sad? How could they not be?
So I journeyed to a particularly large and ancient tree who seemed as though it would be wise enough to speak for all the trees. I did this in a quiet meditative state, where I projected my consciousness beyond my body so that I could see and feel and hear the spirit of the tree more easily than I can from my ordinary state of mind. I asked it to show me how it felt about the way its fellow trees were being treated. I asked the tree for forgiveness for my own humanness and for the wrongs I carried for myself and all my ancestors and relations. I asked if the tree would help me understand how to deal with this heavy sadness that weighed my heart down.
Of course, the tree was not angry or even upset. What the tree conveyed to me instead was a state of total neutrality. It was not concerned with humans or other trees or the earth. It did not need my apologies. It did not need me to carry around my own or anyone else’s wrongdoings. It did not need anything at all from me.
And yet there was a very mutually satisfying exchange that happened between us, simply by my reaching out and saying hello. I learned that my attention was the greatest gift I could give to this or any being. I learned that by simply opening my heart to it, I could feel the kind of peace and neutrality that is so abundant in all of nature. My own judgment seeped out of my body as a new awareness came in. I too could be neutral like this tree.
When I shared this story with my client, I could see that she understood. She was receptive enough to feel the transmission that I had received from this tree or perhaps the tree was now offering itself to her through me. Without my needing to address her issue head-on, she found her way to her own resolution.
Sometimes, perhaps always, the best way to love someone is to let them have their own trials and tribulations, trusting that their suffering is exactly what they need. By knowing that it is from their highest wisdom that they attract these rites and initiations, we honor them.
When we love the way trees love, we do not ask people to be better than they are. When we can sit with the neutrality of the trees, we do not suffer for our own or anyone else’s destruction. When we listen the way trees listen, we hear the bigger story of timelessness and perfection.