A couple of days ago I had the urge to do a handstand. I ignored it, actually laughing to myself as I imagined how funny I would look upside down. I don’t know where the thought came from or why and I really didn’t think much about it.
That night I awoke between dreams and in my mind I saw the image of an upside down tree. The roots were in the air and the leaves were under the ground. The roots were not bare, either. They had white circles or leaves coming up off of them.
I found the image intriguing and thought I should paint it. I had no reason to think it might be connected to the handstand idea I had.
The next day I did a Google search to find out if the image I saw in my mind existed somewhere else. Maybe someone had seen it, too? Maybe it had meaning I did not know about.
I discovered many such pictures online, none exactly like the one I saw. What was interesting to me was that the upside down tree is linked to a yoga pose. When I discovered the link to yoga, I recalled my idea to do a handstand the day before. So! It wasn’t just a funny thought that passed through my mind! It must have been a message that I ignored because it seemed so ridiculous.
From what I found in my research, handstand pose is one of the most difficult yoga poses. Besides the physical benefits of the pose – strengthening the shoulders, cardiovascular system, lungs, and lymphatic system – there are numerous spiritual benefits. Spiritually, the pose is empowering, challenging, and liberating as it creates a new perspective by literally turning the world upside down. It also helps one get past the fear of the unknown.
In my research I stumbled upon a blog that explains exactly why I saw this inverted tree in my vision:
To be upside down instead of right side up, is paradoxical, it is uttanita. Uttanita in Sanskrit means to expand your awareness and shift your perspective, to see something in a new way. Uttanita means, flip it, the opposite is true and what is reality, truth, is the reality you don’t see. The world and your experience shows you ‘reality’, and the paradox is there is a whole reality that you don’t see or experience. (We know like 4-5% of the Universe, the rest is the hidden reality known as dark energy and dark matter, we don’t see.) Uttanita is the revelation of that which is concealed, when you can shift your perspective to see that which is hidden.
The author goes on to say:
Adho mukha vrksasana is Sanskrit for downward facing tree pose, also known as Handstand. One of the philosophical roots of the asana (posture) of Handstand is from a 2000 +/- yr old yogic Vedic text called the Upanishads, a compilation of yogi sage’s wisdom. The Katha Upanishad says: “This universe is a tree eternally existing, its roots above, it’s branches on earth below. It’s pure root is Brahman, the immortal, from whom all the worlds draw their life, and whom none can transcend, for this Self is supreme.” Another yogic scriptural reference for the pose is the Asvatta Tree of Consciousness, from the Bhagavad Gita, Vs 15:1,2. “The shastras speak of the imperishable ashvatta tree as having its roots above and branches below; Its leaves are the Vedic hymns, and he who knows this is a knower of the Vedas. It’s branches extend below and above, and being nourished by the gunas create the entire universe with sense objects as sprouts; below in the world of humans stretch for the the roots promoting action. “
For me the message to try to tackle this pose goes along with a major dream theme I have been encountering: embracing the feminine side. It also suggests that I need to view the world from a new perspective. My many masculine qualities tend to overshadow my feminine ones. I view life as a problem that needs a solution rather than just view it passively and without confrontation. In many ways I act like a warrior, ever on the lookout for the next attack. This makes me feel very uncomfortable in my own skin, pacing about and overly anxious.
The dream symbols I have encountered are strikingly obvious as to the message they bring. In one dream I saw a wounded deer. I thought the deer was dead but it looked so alive I took a closer look. I saw that its hind leg was injured and appeared to be imbedded in the ground. Unable to move, it was slowly starving to death. I recall thinking someone should just put it out of its misery, but I also had huge amounts of sympathy for it. I wanted to go back to help but also wanted to kill it. I couldn’t figure out which would be best.
The deer is a symbol of femininity, grace and nurturing. It being wounded suggests that this quality in myself is “wounded” and my desire to “kill” it while also wanting to “help” it suggests I am at odds with accepting this part of myself.
I also had a dream where I was adopting a baby because it had been abandoned. I chose a girl baby over the boy only because the boy babies father took him in. I was left with the girl and look upon the boy longingly.
Just last night I dreamed of another baby. This one lost its left arm.
Babies are very similar to deer in their symbolism. They represent innocence, warmth, purity, vulnerability and helplessness. Loss of the left arm suggests that these qualities are missing in my life. Adoption symbolizes taking on something new or different. In this case the qualities of the baby represent qualities within me that I am denying. I am being asked, “What is missing in your life?”
Upside Down Tree
I tried to do a handstand but failed miserably. I will keep working on it, though. I suspect it will help since yoga has been so helpful to me thus far. The image of the upside down tree is still very vivid in my mind. The roots reaching to the sky represent Oneness while the leaves below represent the Earth and life upon it; our individuality via human experience. I suspect that the pose will help me to better recognize this Oneness.