A Clean Mind

Blogging about a less stressful way to live…

Viewing People As… Trees? Yes!

Recently, we talked about the amazing possibility that all things might actually be neutral, as opposed to an ultimate good or bad. We talked about the things we see as well as our thoughts and feelings. The same applies to our experiences, too, as well as to the events in the world. We might like them or not, but I’m pretty sure there’s no absolute good or bad quality assigned to everything. And I know very well that lots of folks would say that there definitely is absolute good and bad. Have you noticed, though, that some things have moved from one of these categories to the other as you’ve lived your life over the years? Who is the judge, then? And I know that many, many people would say it’s called God or some other name. So… my plan is to address that very soon, possibly even later this week. Because I know this is a very important thing to talk about. For now, though, let’s just acknowledge that almost all of us view the world through some pretty thick lenses. Like me! Neutral means we become more and more aware of the glasses. And as we do, the lenses tend to become clearer and clearer as a result. You can see that this might be a very big deal in terms of our peace…

So after I wrote the post about neutrality, a friend shared a quote from the teacher Ram Dass about how he views people. It’s pretty cool, and it fits really well with what we’re talking about, so I thought I’d share it here. In fact, it’s very cool! And if you read it and then instantly see how judgy you are with people, then don’t judge that! Just say, “Wow, this is amazing. This might be fun to play with. This might give me more peace.” Here we go:

“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”

Isn’t that nice? It’s such an accessible analogy, too, because we’ve all see a ton of trees. And I’ll bet very few of us, if any, has ever been very judgy with a tree. I mean, really?? And feel free to laugh out loud. Or LOL, whichever you prefer… We might like a particular tree or not, but we probably don’t get all emotional or “high and mighty” about it. After all, it’s just a tree! So start to think about this analogy as you notice judgments coming in about the people that you see or think about. Also note that this doesn’t mean that you have to like the person or even hang out with them. What it does mean, though, is that you might have a deeper understanding about why they are the way they are. There’s always a reason. And you don’t even have to know what the reason is, although often you’ll have an intuitive idea. But either way, you will know there is a reason, and that makes a big difference. So while you still might choose to not hang out with the person, you’re making that choice without all the judgment. And the judgment is the toxic stuff that you carry around, so the one that it poisons is you. And who wants that? It is not inner peace, that’s for sure…

Also remember that we always talk here about learning to not judge our judgments (here and here). Because as you read this and then go out into the world, judgments about people will just pop into your head. So rather than getting all contracted about what a bad person you are, or even trying to justify the thought, why not say, “Oh yeah, I remember – that’s just a tree! It might not have gotten enough light. How interesting! I will send that person some love. And I might hang out or not. But I will send love regardless, and I will be in total peace as I do this.” And you will feel much better about the whole thing, and that’s exactly what we want. And it might even inform how you interact with that person. You might have more compassion and understanding, for instance, even while being strong and keeping your boundaries. Pretty cool…

So there you go! Viewing people as trees… who would’ve had that idea? Not me, so I’m glad my friend sent that quote. And the upcoming God post should be interesting, too. It’s funny how I really have tried to dodge the super deep stuff here at this blog, but it’s just not possible. It’s popping up all over the place, more and more all the time. And I’m realizing more and more that that’s why I’m here – to talk about that stuff. But I’m still a super logical math major, too. I like sports. I eat meat. I’m not super visual when I close my eyes. I don’t currently see energy or hear “the other side.” I haven’t had an out of body experience (even though I did the Gateway Voyage Program, aka “conscious camp,” at The Monroe Institute in 2006 to try to have one. I think I tried too hard…). On the surface, I’m a fairly normal dude. But there’s some interesting stuff out there in the world and it’s time to really own that it’s real and talk about it. I know that for me, the result has been WAY more peace. And that rocks! And I have to share. In the meantime, enjoy the walk in the woods. Maybe even go to the mall to walk through a really dense forest if you want to speed things up. And as always, let me know if I can help!


All anybody really wants is peace. The good news is that peace can be learned. I’m serious. This should be taught in middle school, but it’s not. So I’m teaching it now.

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