Saturday, January 28, 2012

Spend Time in Nature

In nature, a part of the connection to the outside world, is the connection to the change. The balance between night and day, death and renewal. It is a symbol of change and balance that is much needed in our lives. This can be seen throughout nature, from the trees shedding and re-growing leaves, to animals shorter life cycles. In The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment Eckhart Tolle mentions the importance of recognizing this impermanence:

     On the level of form, there is birth and death, creation and destruction, growth and dissolution, of seemingly separate forms. This is reflected everywhere: in the life cycle of a star or a planet, a physical body, a tree, a flower, in the rise and fall of nations, political systems, civilizations, and in the inevitable cycles of gain and loss of an individual. There are cycles of success, when things come to you and thrive, and cycles of failure, when they wither or disintegrate and you have to let them go in order to make room for new things to arise, or for transformation to happen. If you cling and resist at that point, it means you are refusing to go with the flow of life, and you will suffer…. One cannot exist without the other (p 152).

As you read this, notice your reactions to the idea of change. Is it a feeling of acceptance or of resistance? Either way, take note of your feelings and let them be how they are without trying to change them to how you wish you felt.
Remember that it is normal to want to resist the impermanence in your life. Feelings of resistance to grief and loss are present in everybody, it is a common human emotion, to grieve.
While noting the resistant part of yourself, make room for the part of yourself that accepts change. One feeling may be more present than the other, notice that, too.

My homework for you is to take a walk in nature. That may be the beach, the woods, or a little park. Get in touch with a more primitive way of being, of feeling a connection to all that is around; the plants, the trees that hold the animals, and the animals themselves. Through a mindful walk through the woods, or just taking time to be in a park we can find what is unconsciously longing within us, a deeper connection to nature. Let yourself relax while you're there and recognize that you are not removed from nature, you are a part of it. You are a part of the cycle of living.
Keep a journal. Write down your feelings about the quote that I've provided and about your experience in nature. Visit nature when you can. Bring nature to you somehow.

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