A leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water, offered to Me in devotion I will accept as the loving gift of a dedicated heart. Whatever you do, make it an offering to Me. The Bhagavad Gita
The following are powerful thought experiments I teach my clients to bring their minds and hearts into greater harmony with nature. Practice these daily for a month.
Pay attention to your breathing while pondering this question:
“When and where does “Nature’s” air become “my” breath?
When it enters your nostrils or your sinuses, lungs or bloodstream; or not until it actually enters a cell?
Does your air become Nature’s again when it leaves the cell, the blood, the lungs, or the nose?
Observe very closely asking where your breath begins and nature’s ends. If you observe mindfully you will see that there is no clear distinction between nature and yourself. There is only one air, changing and being changed by everything it touches. The distinction “my” breath and “nature’s” air is only verbal/mental. In reality we can find no such demarcation. This can be disturbing for a mind that fears mystery.
Next follow the incoming air and feel its touch from your nostrils into your lungs. See if you can also feel your breath moving in your lower abdomen, pelvis, neck and head. This movement is not imaginary. Every part, every cell of your body breathes, just as you do. When an organ such as your bladder, intestines or lungs are hypersensitive due to inflammation you can more easily feel the movement of every breath there. It is powerful therapy to use your breath to gently massage a sick organ, deliberately exhaling its pain and inhaling healing.
Go outside and sense your exhalations warm, moist and aromatic flowing out into Nature. Imagine how the trees and flowers welcome your breath. How far do you believe the touch and scent of your breath can be felt? Three feet? Ten feet? Twenty yards? One mile, one thousand? Imbue your breath with your heartfelt love and appreciation. Send it to someone you love or someone you don’t. What are the moods and emotions your breath normally carries? What effect do these emotions have on the world around you?
Follow your sweat or urine until it becomes a cloud, rain, a river and the ocean. Follow your feces as they become soil, plants and animals. Similarly, ponder and observe when and where nature’s temperatures, colors and sounds become ours and us, and ours become hers? Nature’s forces and phenomenon ebb and flow in our bodies AS our physiology and anatomy. Our body-mind becomes unnatural, sick and insane when separated from nature’s healing processes and presences in precisely the same fashion as a plant withers when deprived of sunlight or water.
It rarely occurs to us that nature, the earth, the universe is every bit as conscious as we are and takes great delight in caring for us. Just as our body comes directly from nature’s body, so our consciousness, our intellect, emotions, will and conscience are born from nature. Our mental faculties, like our physical ones, flourish on the love, joy and meaning innate in nature. The realization of being a part of, and loved by a greater being is a most excellent medicine.
When the sun warms your skin, try to feel the warmth as a gift from a living being intentionally directing this power to you. Refuse the intellectual laziness and arrogance that would reduce the incomprehensible mystery of the sun to an inert ball of burning gases. Deliberately cultivate the thought that the rays warming you are being intentionally sent for you with love. The feeling of being consciously loved by nature is absolutely natural and all indigenous peoples experience this. This outlook radically collides with our Newtonian, Cartesian view of the world as being composed of lifeless, unintelligent atoms that “somehow” managed to produce orchids and golden eagles.
Metals such as gold and copper, hidden in the depths of the earth, also exist in infinitesimally small amounts in our bodies and are absolutely essential to our well being. Why not stardust and moonlight? Surely stars emanate a quality of “starness” that is essential to us. It may be their special light and/or homeopathic traces of their physical bodies.
Is it not perhaps a harmful presumption that stars are any less essential than the moon is to our wellbeing? Can anyone behold a ‘star filled’ night and not feel themselves moved towards greater sanity? What authority defines for you what the stars, moon and sun really are and what power they possess? Are they not yours to give meaning to and relate to in ways that are satisfying to you?
Imagine that at the same time as you see each star’s twinkling light, that star is likewise perceiving you. If all living beings share the same consciousness as you do, how do you imagine a star, the moon, the sun, a tree, or your body feels when you treat them as if they were unintelligent and uncaring?
Our indoor, industrialized and housed culture fears sunlight. Protected behind our glasses and sun screen, are we also separating ourselves from healing feelings such as awe, mystery and a sense of belonging? Such feelings are the natural response to living in a fully conscious, loving universe; one whose greatest delight is being known and loved by us.
These thought and feeling experiments are valuable ways to reconnect us to our ageless and truest heritage and may even be linked to our survival.