Overcast sky, just a few hours before the thunder and rain arrive here. I can almost smell the rain in the blowing wind. As the wind picks up its speed, the temperature quickly drops. Before it gets any colder, I step out to enjoy the last hour of the calm before the storm. This tree stump was here when we moved. It had been brutally cut down but I found a nice use for it. This is where I stand upon daily for my tree pose practice. There’s something magnetic about this spot. I can master my tree pose with such ease. It almost feels natural to stand forever in the tree form because I quickly connect with my center. I meditate on the last sacrifice of this tree, how it once must have stood firmly on this ground offering shelter from the blazing heat of the sun, but now the full branches are gone and only this small stump remains. But I love this stump so much as it quickly becomes my favorite spot in my back yard. I feel pure charity and love of this giving tree, whenever I step on it. This connection takes me to the root of my eternal existence, to God, and I know that God is there. It’s so easy to know and feel God when I am standing in this sacred vortex.
Where there is charity and love, God is there, I find myself chanting.
Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas Deus ibi est.
Where there is charity and love, God is there.
I have recently discovered this beautiful chant sung at the Lenten prayer service in the spirit of the Taizé community in France. How true is it that God is there wherever there is charity and love? It’s almost a no-brainer concept because charity and love stem from God. Even here, on this simple tree that has been cut down by the hands of men, the charity and love of the tree remain. This tree stump is my daily reminder that no matter what happens to your physical body, you can always transcend your physical pain, mental agony and all human emotions. You can rise over it all if only you can stay connected to your spiritual root where life stems forth. If you look deep within, there, you will see the genuine face of your soul. It is the face of the formless being untouched from earthly corruption. It’s the face of the immaculate soul that God created you to be. It is the being that intrinsically recognizes charity and love.
Hatred fills my heart. Jealousy consumes me. Sadness and longing devour me to the point of drowning. It’s hard to be a human with a full capacity to feel. But from time to time, these sacred moments- when I do the tree pose in my backyard or attend the prayer service chanting a beautiful hymn- keep me connected to the divinity. My task at hand is to stay as close as I can to the source of life, to the events that bring sacredness to this fragile human life so prone to fall into sin. Like a tree planted by streams of water (Psalm 1:3), we shall never stray far from the moments that awash us with the divine charity and love. We shall never forget that God is there in every breath we take from this moment to eternity. God always, always walks with us in every step of the way.