“Do you mean to tell me that there are no words of wisdom that are of any value to you? There is no teacher who you would consider worthy to listen to?”
That’s not true.
Around midnight last night, I cracked open a can of beer, sat on the steps outside my front door and listened to the trees for the better part of an hour. They have more wisdom than any human being is capable of. Attending a satsang with the trees, so much is revealed. My own wisdom is merely a regurgitation of what they have spoken to me in their own fluid language, translated into the crude and clumsy jargon that humans use.
But it’s a different ear with which the wisdom of the trees needs to be listened to. There can be no anticipating what they are going to say next. They do not speak in sentences. Their thoughts don’t end predictably. The way our human ones do.
Human language is like listening to pop music. Once you’ve heard the first verse and the chorus of the song, your mind already knows what the rest of the song is going to sound like. It’s mostly repetitive. But the sound of the trees is like a symphony composed in real-time. The only way one can listen is if one is completely without any sense of expectation or anticipation. Any expectation is sure to be met with disappointment because what you hear is impossible to predict.
The language of the trees is a remarkable language. Silence is as much a part of their vocabulary as is sound. And when they speak, I feel their breath ruffling through my hair, caressing my skin, awakening my senses. And then silence again. Indefinitely. As my consciousness marinates in what has been said.
Human teachers are like rudimentary instruments. They are like a toy piano only capable of basic sounds and notes that are amusing at best and tinny at worst. They regurgitate the same tired notes with uninspiring variations that try their best to sound original but ultimately amount to nothing more than chewing the intellectual cud.
But when the trees speak, every syllable uttered is conceived, created and uttered for the very first time. If you know how to listen, the teaching is evergreen. Perennially fresh. Not a word regurgitated. Not a thought repeated. Not an ounce of energy wasted on communicating anything but the direct and absolute truth.
When I have the trees as my teachers – to hold satsang whenever my heart desires, whenever my soul requires nourishment, why would I turn to a human being? Why would I reject the real deal and opt for the cheap knockoff?
What you call a “teacher” I call a “translator”. That’s all these human teachers are. Middlemen with varying levels of translating skills. Most of them are simply just making shit up as they go because they don’t really understand what is being communicated to them by life.
But even if they did? So, what? Why listen to their tinny voices? Their limited notes? Their predictable and regurgitated thoughts? Why listen to a shitty scratched up CD when you have an open seat to the live concert?
Makes no sense to me.
The trees have been my teachers for the better part of two decades now. They have always accepted me as an equal in their midst. They have never made me feel lower than them even though they tower over me. They have always displayed great humility even though they are the most majestic creatures I’ve ever met. They have watched me in my despair, in my epiphanies, in my anguish and my happiness. They have watched me nearly kill myself. And through it all they have always spoken kindly, chided me gently, met my arrogance with stone silence, advised me in my confusion and responded to my courage with rustling enthusiasm.
They have been my friends first before they have been my teachers. I trust them more than I do my own loved ones. Isn’t that what every seeker is in search of in a teacher?
No human can give me that. We humans are merely sophisticated mouthpieces. Our words are the brutal sounds of a hammer mauling a brick wall. “Well, some humans create beauty with words”, you may argue. And some people make music using hammers, yet, there are much finer instruments one can use to create music than hammers.
I can never aspire to be a teacher of wisdom. Because I know what I am.
I am a poor translator. I am a redundant middleman. I am a sophisticated mouthpiece. I am a regurgitator of unoriginal and predictable thoughts. I am a cheap knockoff.
Yet, when I listen to the trees I become something more. Or rather, something less.
When they speak to me, I become a child. No. Not even a child, a mere newborn.
I know nothing. I understand nothing. I anticipate nothing. I become nothing.
And in that nothing, the secrets of the universe are revealed to me.