Before you read this, you can listen to the song : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSjXOebB7eI
In a characteristic and cheerful Jamaican rhythm, the singer lets loose the phrase “There is a big tree in the garden”.
Suddenly, an image of a big tree in a garden is created into my mind. But a question arises.
“Who is watching the big tree? Is there anyone in the garden noticing that there is a tree, and that in fact that tree is big?”
This is how I picture it.
There is a big tree, and there are two observers.
One of them is watching the tree from a distance. It is a man, who observes the outside material world. He lives his life like most. He sees things with his human eyes without asking or questioning. But somehow, someday, something unexpected happens. The cause could be anything. He might have read a spiritual book, he might have met enlightened souls. Perhaps he has had an awakening incident or he could have lost what was thought given. Nevertheless, his karma is somehow fulfilled.
So, this man is now standing in a garden watching a tree. At first, he notices that the tree is big, tall, strong, green. All observations of human vision. Yet, he is not satisfied. He is looking for something. So he continues watching. He is watching so carefully, so patiently, that the tree is getting bigger and bigger, stronger and stronger, green like nothing else he has ever come across. Slowly he sees. The tree is not a plant anymore. It is life in shape, life in colour. Life with roots (source), life with branches (growth, continuity, evolution). It is still and yet more alive than anything else moving.
Then, he makes another realization. Concepts like time, space, distance are powerless when the observer is awake. He starts to feel one with the tree. The illusion of separateness starts to fade away.
Now, it is up to him. If he chooses to stay focused, if he stays connected to the tree, the Mind will set free. He will become wiser. Right away, another experience emerges, even more profound. Not only does he see, he now understands as well. There is no tree and there is no man. The truth is revealed.
The second observer is much different. He has come into the garden knowing the truth. This man has gone along a spiritual journey. Not only does he see that the tree has roots and branches, but he has progressed into taking care of the tree. He waters the roots and trims the branches.
He has overcome the obstacles of distance and time. He has touched the tree, observed every side of it, knows what it needs to become even bigger and stronger. He sees and he understands. By time, the connection between the observer and the tree is so deep, that the man is absorbed by the tree. Or one would suggest the opposite. Nevertheless, they become one. Such as the tree, without roots, the man cannot live, without branches he will not grow. But the man knows it. Yet, he has no fear. He feels no pain. He needs not the human body anymore.
So there you go. Man and tree are one. Until they are none.
In both cases, the observer is enlightened. What is different is the approach, each man’s path to get there. This is the law of karma. Those who walk into the right path (dharma) will get there sooner. Those who fall into the wrong path will have their karma act for them.
So, next time you see a tree, ask yourself: Who is watching the tree?