This morning I was idly watching the TV news when on screen came a very large, tall fir tree. The reporter said that the Christmas tree for Rockefeller Center in New York City was about to be cut down. I felt unexpectedly distressed and quickly changed the channel, as if a human beheading were about to be broadcast.
I told this to my husband, and he kindly reminded me that the tree is still alive after it is cut. With all the joyful decorating and adulation of the huge Christmas tree, he said, the tree’s spirit would receive beneficial impressions (sanskaras), which impel it forward in its evolution.
In Meher Baba’s teaching, after the soul moves through the stages of Evolution (stone, metal, vegetation, worm, fish, bird, animal), it enters the stage of human Reincarnation, passing through many human forms, experiencing every possible condition of life (man or woman, rich or poor, sick or well, every race and religion, etc.). Finally, the soul enters the stage of Involution, which is the spiritual path, traversing the inner planes of consciousness. The final goal, reached eventually by all, is the “I am God” state, full realization of one’s true non-dual nature, Oneness with God. The tree is one of the special stations along this journey.
My husband described to me how he once visited a place where Easter lilies were prepared for sale. The woman there said she was in communication with all the plants. She worried about those lilies that would inevitably have to be discarded as unsuitable, unusable. But the lilies told her, “No problem.” If it was their dharma to make people happy on the holy day of Easter, fine; if not, that was OK too.
It was reassuring. Evolution moves onward toward the Supreme Goal. Beings experience all things, good and bad—often mixed good/bad. There is one life, lived through a multitude of forms, and one death, attained upon reaching the Goal.
I read in a book about nature spirits that the devas who watch over various plants feel slightly sad when their plant is destroyed, say by a storm (or by Rockefeller Center), but they are not upset the way humans are when someone dies; they understand that Existence never dies—as perhaps symbolized by the evergreen Christmas tree itself.
I rejoice in these truths. But I still don’t want to watch the great fir tree brought down, in any of numerous videos now online, which I guess many people enjoy. I’m only human.