I don’t know about you, but I love bonsai. Those little trees grown in trays sculpted with Japanese kanjis, you know them… The strange forms they had, the beautiful images they created in my mind…
Until I read how they are actually created: artificially. That’s right, there is a technique of doing this: you take a tree, put it in a twisted context, and it will grow with twisted roots.
The result might be beautiful, but it’s not natural. It might touch your aesthetic perceptions and give you some thrills, but it’s artificial. It might challenge your intelligence and make you think in unusual ways, but it will be based on false premises…
Because the whole technique is about twisting roots. About modifying one’s natural path by drastically changing its surroundings.
Of course, this post is not even remotely related to the bonsai creating art, as you may already imagined. It is about how we, humans, can be considered, and treated like, bonsai. Like little plants artificially modified, exposed to different contexts and environment conditions. And all of that, in order to follow different principles, to act according to a specific set of rules, or just to please our creator’s taste…
Imagine that you’re a tree and you’ve been exposed to a certain amount of wind, humidity and heat. And that the exposed part shrunk. It’s not the fault of the wind or the heat or the humidity, those are neutral principles. It’s the context, the way those principles are used. Sometimes the context is your family. Sometimes the context is just a window opened instantly by a strange event. In that small amount of the time, you’ve been injected with a cold flow of wind, and this will have visible effects only years later. Sometimes it might be the fact that you forgot to close a window that let too much heat into your life.
The twisting happens most of the time very early in our childhood, and without our knowledge. It starts silently, secretly and continues over a very long period of time. Sometimes you realize that you have a twisted root only 10 or 20 or 30 years later. It’s tough. Because once you reached your so-called maturity, and your beliefs are well grown, it’s very difficult to change your whole construction. It takes time and energy. But it’s not impossible. You can actually rewire your brain, if you want.
Do You Have Your Own Twisted Roots?
Most certainly you do. But the chances that you are aware of them are very low. And even if you are aware of them, your actual lifestyle and your self-perception are acting like blockers: they don’t allow you to realize that you’ve been grown twisted, because once you realized that, everything will change. Including your actual lifestyle and self-perception.
The root twisting process can be made by a normal or neutral principle, used or abused in a non-natural or non-neutral way. One of the most popular twisted root is about authority. Almost everybody had its own challenges and problems with authority, even if that was just for several months or years, as a teenager. As a matter of fact, challenging authority for short periods of time is a good way to find your own identity, and this is always what’s happening with teenagers.
Consider authority like a little storm thrown into a bonsai. It will make the little plant shrink. It will also make the plant fear everything that acts in a violent way. Next time when it will be exposed to the wind, it will shrink again. It’s a natural process of surviving. Now, imagine if you would expose a bonsai to a constant storm context. It will become a very storm-sensitive plant. It might become a little tree with low branches that will never look up to the sky again. Or it will make a very aggressive tree with short and strong branches that sees authority and violence in everything.
Likewise, an early authoritarian family context can have huge impact on your emotional field later in your life. You’ll always react to authority with that twisted root. You’ll never embrace risk, and you’ll expect to be punished for the fact that you exist. And besides authority there are also: interdiction, isolation, guilt, punishment… Almost any normal behavior can be twisted if it’s constantly exposed to an unnatural flow of energy.
Changing back a twisted root is not an easy process. But is far less time consuming than the initial process. The act of self-healing will be done with far more awareness than at the time of the twisting. You’re a grown human being now and have more energy than you had as a little child.
So, once you’ve correctly identified your twisted roots, you’re close to make a natural tree out of your little bonsai.
The greatest challenge of all is to find those little twisted roots inside of you.