The Tree of Life

barren-tree-winterIn the depth of winter, Nicholas Herman, an eighteen-year-old impoverished solider in the French army, stopped to gaze upon a tree. The thoughts that occurred to him in those few moments changed the course of his life and would serve to inspire countless souls in the centuries to come.

Like the tree, stripped of its leaves, Herman felt barren and hopeless. But come spring, he realized, the tree would once again blossom with leaves and fruit. In that instant, the leafless tree “first flashed in upon [his] soul the fact of God” and his soul blossomed with the hope and expectation that the turn of seasons in his own life would bring fullness, and that he too would be renewed through the mercy of God’s grace.

Not long after, a near-fatal injury to his sciatic nerve, which left him crippled and in chronic pain the rest of his life, forced Herman’s retirement from the army. After a stint as a self-described “footman who was clumsy and broke everything,” he entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Paris around the year 1635 and took the name Brother Lawrence, in honor of Lawrence, the parish priest who had helped educate him. For more than forty years, Brother Lawrence worked in the monastery kitchen and sandal repair shop.

In 1666, Joseph de Beaufort, counsel to the Paris archbishop, was instructed to interview Brother Lawrence, who was often sought out by others for spiritual counsel, to discover how he was able to stay in constant attunement with God. These four conversations, along with fifteen assorted letters from Brother Lawrence, were published after Brother Lawrence died in 1691. This short fifty-two-page book, titled The Practice of the Presence of God, has been a treasured companion to spiritual seekers for more than three hundred years.

And it all begin with a forlorn teenager gazing at a barren tree on a winter’s day.

Click here to view all my posts about Brother Lawrence.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier

To order your copy of Through God’s Eyes, go to OR order from Amazon at OR for an inscribed copy, click here to e-mail Phil for information.

Click here for more information about Through God’s Eyes.
Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.

Want to learn more about Through God’s Eyes? Here is a free 40-page PDF sampler from the book that includes:

• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders

Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!

Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.

SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

Here is a three-minute video that introduces you to Phil and his book. Click here to order Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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