This past weekend I had the distinct privilege of sitting at the feet of Jean Houston’s magnificent teaching. She is a remarkable woman, a brilliant mind, and an extraordinary communicator. One of Jean’s great skills is her ability to create an experience in your whole body that shifts your entire heart, mind and soul in such a way that you are never the same. She did that for us this weekend when she invited us into an encounter with our future Self, standing before us with love and compassion, inviting us to become that One.
As I reflected on that experience, I was reminded of my favorite passage from Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, in which she describes the Zen Buddhist’s view of how an oak tree comes into being.
They say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well – the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born.
Gilbert goes on to write…
I think about the woman I have become lately, about the life that I am now living, and about how much I always wanted to be this person and live this life… I think of everything I endured before getting here and wonder if it was me – I mean, this happy and balanced me… who pulled the other, younger, more confused and more struggling me forward during all those hard years. The younger me was the acorn full of potential, but it was the older me, the already-existent oak, who was saying the whole time -‘Yes-grow! Change! Evolve! Come and meet me here, where I already exist in wholeness and maturity! I need you to grow into me!’
The ‘already-existent oak’ urging us forward, inviting us to grow, change, evolve and become it. What a wonderful image to hold in mind as we move into the New Year. I invite you to take some time… to perhaps close your eyes, and imagine your future self, your ‘already existent oak’, standing in front of you. Imagine her eyes filled with compassion and love. Imagine the calmness of her presence. And listen. What is she saying to you? What does she want you to know about this life and the path ahead? What encouragement does she offer? What wisdom does she share? And then recognize that you and she are One. She emerged from you and you are growing into her. I invite you to embrace this One, and together move forward with jubilation and joy into the year ahead.