It is amazing to consider the lengths we can go to avoid solitude, or how hard we must work to try to find some. We keep our lives so busy, that a few moments of peace and stillness is a rare commodity. We often seem either surprised, or in awe when we suddenly stumble upon silent moments.
Many search out rituals or practices to help to bring some stillness to their lives. I cannot help but think that early civilizations had no need to practice relaxation techniques, or to learn meditation in order to still the mind. The meditative spirit comes naturally to humans. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be that the meditative state comes naturally to humans when they are in nature. Walking through the woods, watching the ocean or gazing at the stars tends to make us slip into a reflective state. The sights, sounds, smells and textures draw our attention right into the present moment.
When we are in nature, there is nothing separating us from divine, organic creation. We are like the drop of water returning to the ocean from which it once emerged. In nature we align the rhythm of our soul to the pulsing vibration of the living cosmos.
So much of modern life unfolds within our heads, disconnected from the world around us. We think a lot, processing the events of the day, or worrying about the next one. Lost in thoughts, we lose touch with the world around us: the real world.
When we are in nature, there is so much to experience, that our attention is distracted from our inner world. Our attention may be drawn to something right next to our feet or millions of light years away. We realize that we are a small part of a much larger whole, and at the same time, the centre of our universe. It is as though the mind, body and soul merge and dissolve back into the oneness. All that is left is pure awareness. Those are blissful moments.
In nature, everything is in its place. When we put ourselves in nature, we experience that sense of being a part of it all, and there is a harmony in that knowing. It is a harmony that resonates at every level of our being. To experience that in silence, to just be in that space without commenting or analyzing it, brings us into intimate contact with our own soul. Soul is that deepest aspect of our being that was there before we had any language.
Analyzing and processing is the work of the left brain. It may be the frame that we use to outline or surround the creative experience that is soul, but it is not the work, the ‘art’ itself. Going off into nature means that we are away from the office, the housework, and the television. Going back to the natural world brings us in touch with our basic nature. It allows us to experience our “being” rather than our “doing”. This is very healing and soothing.
The problem is, that like the workaholic who must work even while on vacation, the human mind has a hard time just being quiet. It is possible to be in the most beautiful place in the world, and not really see it. It is also possible to experience paradise in our own backyard. Truly noticing the leaf buds emerging, or the distant tapping of the woodpecker reminds us of the magnificence of our world.
The natural world is always changing, ever new. We never say ‘same old, same old’ when referring to the arrival of spring, the shifting tides, the butterflies, or the stars. These are never mundane, no matter how often we experience them.
Worrying about the meeting at work, the child’s report card, or how our taxes are being spent is manmade “stuff”. While it must be dealt with, it is not the stuff of life. It is not the ‘main attraction’ here. We must keep it in its place.
You may notice that when you have connected your soul with the natural world, time seems to stand still, or at least slow down. Your day seems longer when your heart is attuned to the rhythms of the cosmos, than it does when your mind is synchronized with the clock. Spend some of that clock time immersed in nature, and breathe deeply of life in this world. It is precious beyond measure.
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