Two things I love: trees and tiny houses. If you don’t have a tiny house you can get some vicarious pleasure through the spiritual practice of ‘lustful gazing’. I first heard about this forbidden secret tantric practice when a member of the family asked for a copy of Cabin Porn for their birthday present. Getting over the shock, I googled it and found it was a project that celebrates Tiny Houses – very inspiring and rather addictive. No wonder the book and website is so popular.
Where can we find trees and small wooden houses mentioned in the same breath in a spiritual context? In one of the earliest instructions on meditation. From more than two thousand years ago, we have the instructions of the Buddha in his ‘Breath-Mindfulness Discourse’ – The Ānāpānasati Sutta – in which he tells us how to meditate: sit in the forest, or at the foot of a tree, or in an empty hut, and focus your attention on your breathing.
And where better to focus on breathing, than being right amongst those wonderful beings who give us the oxygen we need to breathe? We all know the Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment sitting under a tree, as did Mahavira, the founder of Jainism. And of course it’s a favourite pastime of Druids – who are by definition tree-huggers, tree-lovers, tree worshippers.
We explore and experience all this a little in this week’s ‘Tea with a Druid’. And below are two videos you might like: Druid Andy Letcher’s band ‘Telling the Bees’ singing ‘The Worship of Trees’, and one of the many great Tiny House videos produced by ‘Living Big in a Tiny House’. I’ve chosen this one because it shows a very contemporary lifestyle is possible – you don’t have to become a hermit (ok I know it helps that they live in a sunny country). And note the nicely generous lyrics in ‘The Worship of Trees’: “Something deep inside yearns to be free – to worship trees. Church bells ring, I’m so glad they do, but I can’t join in. …just let me run free!”