Many people find solace in nature. To get a break from the hustle and bustle of life, we take vacations in nature. Cities have found the magic of setting aside spaces for parks and green spaces. We keep plants in our homes. Corporate and educational campuses add green spaces as part of their landscape design. Nature has been the muse in countless works of art and literature. Indigenous cultures saw nature as part of themselves and could not imagine life without. So why is nature such an undeniable presence in our lives?
We don’t think about it much, and like a lot of things, we take this for granted. But the truth is that there is only life, nature is an exuberant manifestation of life, and we are part of it. There is no separation between us and nature. As much as we run away to our lives in building made of concrete, and drive around in transportation made of metal, we cannot live without the natural world – it’s like air – we would suffocate without nature.
Next time we eat a salad, a fruit or vegetable – let’s remember that these are life forms which are giving of themselves to nourish us. This isn’t only true of livestock, but it is also true of plant life. Giving thanks for our meal these days, if practiced at all, is seen as recognition to God for providing, but what about the gratitude to the life itself that is on the plate?
Having an interchange with nature is lost in today’s mainstream city life, but as soon as you step into the countryside, the jungle, the desert, the mountains, the sea… you just feel it. People of these natural landscapes have always had an exchange with their habitat. Pre-modern cultures have long-held relationships with nature and natural architypes, to the point of receiving messages. Even today there are people who commune with trees, and plants, not to mention animals. We already have solid scientific evidence that plants communicate with each other, so why not with us as well?
The messages we receive are of hope, of love, of wisdom, and of pleas to pay a little more attention to the earth. There is immense intelligence in creation, and a web of connection. We are part of that network, but our attention has been diverted toward survival and self-preservation. The noise of thought is drowning out the whispers of nature.
Communing with nature is not only possible but it’s a birthright which we need to re-connect with. It simply takes a quieting down. It’s amazing what we notice when we stop paying so much attention to ourselves. Life communicates through intuition, feelings, sensations in the body. We simply have to open up and be present with our hearts, tuning in with quiet focus. It can begin with silent walks in the woods, as Thoreau advocated. After some devoted practice, and based on one’s inherent sensitivity, even a dialog can evolve. Such people exist, and therefore we cannot dismiss that nature does speak. We just have to listen.
“The muffled syllables that Nature speaks fill us with deeper longing for her word; She hides a meaning that the spirit seeks, She makes a sweeter music than is heard.” – George Santayana
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