28 10, 2007

Connecting With Nature

October 28th, 2007|connection, love, nature, wholeness|5 Comments

I’ve been thinking lately of my connection with nature, exploring that connection more deeply, especially following a recent and quite profound experience I had in the forest (and here’s yet another quite amazing one; can you tell this is a bit of a theme here?) and I invite you to think now about your connection with nature.

I suspect that for the most part we really don’t give this much thought. Nature is simply ‘there’, and our day-to-day awareness doesn’t often extend to a real connection to nature beyond, say, noticing the gorgeous deep velvety reds of the Japanese maple trees, or the clearness of the autumn blue sky that provides a backdrop to the clouds in a usually overcast sky. We notice these things, notice their beauty, even perhaps notice their perfection, but fail to go that extra step and really connect with it: feeling the trees and their dance of interconnectedness, bursting into bloom yourself along with the geraniums in the pot on your windowsill, becoming the bird intent on seed-gathering to acquire energy to store for the cold winter ahead. We don’t usually feel what it is like to BE an aspect of nature, even though we are an aspect of it ourselves.

By denying a true connection to nature we deny an essential aspect of Self.

There is tremendous value in connecting with animals, trees, and other elements of what we consider to be nature. These elements, are part of our home, part of our world, and are as such connected to us, to humans, in a very intimate way. We share space. We share air. We share resources. Not only that, but we share in the creation of our world, the global creation of the reality we know as life. And because of that there is an undying connection between us as humans and ALL of the so-called ‘natural’ elements of nature.

Think back to a time when you were connected with nature. For most of us this happened easily and naturally when we were children. True connection to nature is a childlike state, a natural state, a state of innocence. Rediscovering your own true connection to nature now will help you reach that state again more easily, time and again, and provide for you a spiritual home to which you can return over and over, always having this base of existence and perception to belong to. And being more often in a state of childlike innocence leaves us so much more open to vulnerability and openness in every aspect of our lives, allowing us myriad opportunities for growth and understanding.

But how can we re-connect to nature if we think we have lost this in the mundane aspects of living life?

It is not enough, for some, to simply state an intention and then order the universe to ‘make it so.’ New pathways of perception need to be forged, new roads to awareness.

For me, what has helped remake these pathways has been two things: being open and being present.

I invite you, then, to find your own corner where you can feel nature. This can simply be a spot near a sunny window in which you can feel the rays directly upon you, but feel free to use your yard, a park, any open spot where you can sit awhile undisturbed. There need be nothing ‘magical’ or special about the place, for truly, nature will find you wherever you are.

Sit comfortably in your chosen spot, then, and imagine the time when the things around you didn’t exist. There were no buildings, no electrical lines, no lawns, not even the trees you see now were there. Once, in time, things looked very different from the way they look now. If you allow it, you can imagine this time, for you possess a connection to it. It is in your genetic memory, in every cell of your body. Imagine each cell, then, unlocking this distant memory. See in your mind’s eye the immense past, every possibility, every moment of time, hanging between you and time’s dawn. You have access to all of it. Now notice the thread that runs through these pages that flutter in front of you, the pages of the past. There is a single thread that weaves its way through ALL of time, through every moment, through every experience, and that is the thread of nature, of our connection to the Earth and to every element of the Earth, every tree, every plant, every stone, and every living being. Keep looking and you’ll notice that this thread is connected to you as well. Do you see it? Can you feel it now, tugging gently at you, a little insistent, reminding you of your immense past, of your deep connection with All That Is?

There it is, then. Your connection to nature is there whether or not you have felt it all along. It is undeniable, this connection we all possess to one another, to the Earth, to every living being on the Earth.

The lessons from connection to nature are many and varied and often depend on the individual, but regardless of perspective there is always growth opportunity through human connection with nature. After all, it is your home. It is your life. To deny nature is denying an aspect of Self, and to fully embrace nature, to accept it in all its splendor, ugliness, and beauty, is a huge step in actually accepting your Self.

I invite you to embrace your connection with nature, then, to embrace the fullness of your humanity, which will in turn bring fullness to every aspect of your life.

21 08, 2006

an experience of the forest

August 21st, 2006|love, nature|2 Comments

Going in the forest is one of my favorite things to do. Not because it’s always pleasant, or because of fresh air, but because it gives me such a wonderful sense of potential of what life is like without all the controls and predefined judgments that make up the relative ‘safety’ of our society.

When I’m walking alone in the forest – usually at night, when my secondary senses take off where sight is left behind – I always get such a feeling of interconnectedness. It isn’t simply that the forest is interdependent with itself, though the energy of a tree blends perfectly with the grounds and bushes to the point that it’s pointless to think where one begins and the other ends. (The same thoughts can also me used for “what is myself” thoughts when pointing to one’s arms, legs, chest, face, etc.). It’s also that it is so incredibly welcoming, of everything. And by “everything”, I mean that. Death is accepted with the same equanimity as the increase of an afternoon breeze. Branches may fall and a gale may cause tall tree tops to tremble and sway many feet from side to side, and there is no worries from the trees of their own demise. Human presences are welcome, not as strangers, but as an increased blending of the energetic weave – even loggers come to empty the sky of leaves.

And because of this welcoming, this non-attached acceptance of any change that comes, there is subtle detachment from any form that comes. The result of this detachment is the complete lack of fear. Fear only exists because of attachment, hanging on, attributing meaning we don’t want lost to particular objects or symbols. With detachment, of which the flow in nature is a prime example, there is no fear. There is adrenaline and instinct, but no separation and shame, a basis for what we call fear.

I get quite a picture of what intelligence is when I’m there, as well. This isn’t referring to grades or mental processes; it refers to a process of surrender, of following the “natural way”, no matter what the form. It’s a non-duality in thought and action, in seeing that there is no “other”, in any form. There’s no sense of this concept in a forest; there is only the forest, which is simply life. It is this kind of perception which helps me act more with love; seeing another person literally as another manifestation of myself, not as I know myself, but as the fullest extension of my being.

This is the kind of experience I can have when heading into nature, and why I value it so much, especially going out camping where there’s no human influences. It often brings out fear being alone without the “safety net” of a community – which is to say it brings out all the blocks I have inside. Not a bad thing at all.