In the last lesson you built upon your ability to get a sense of the Song of Your Being. You also learned more about some of the energies you might encounter in nature. In this lesson I will begin to suggest reasons why we might want to talk to nature.
There are a multitude of reasons why we would want to talk to nature. Some are higher spiritual reasons and some are more practical ones.Higher Reasons
Seeing Nature as a Mirror
If we go into our experience of nature with the intent of spiritual growth, we may find that it provides us with the results of seeing what we need (and who we are) in the world around us. Remember the reading from 'forest floor'. In that reading with my connection to 'forest floor', it became clear that the darkest places of the forest provide expressions of growth change and movement and that this same principle could be a metaphor for the fears that darken our lives. We can find this metaphor in all the spirits of nature, for they all consist of divine qualities that can resonate with our own. We can take courage from lion, soar with the clarity of vision and perspective of an eagle or walk with the strength and wisdom of elephant. We can allow our lives to flow with the steady rush of water in a stream, we can allow the wind to cleanse our energies and we can take comfort in the steadiness of tide and season.Connecting More Deeply to Our Spiritual Nature
When we have moments of clarity, we realize that our nature is innately divine, energizing and expanding, compassionate, respectful of all things and appreciative for all we have. Taking the time to reconnect with the world around us can open us to these moments of clarity. Being able to pay attention in a relaxed way when in nature is easier for some of us than others. Yet a focus is needed. I practice meditation every day and this gives me an excellent opportunity to practice focus. But, although it helps, you do not have to be a regular meditator to hold a focus. If you can be absorbed in a good book and let the rest of the world fall away, you already are good at holding a focus.
This exercise is a classic meditation. It can be used as a tool for focus. With continued use, it can provide insight into your life.
1. Find a comfortable position sitting in a chair or on the floor. Keep your head erect on your shoulders, your posture straight. It may help to imagine that an imaginary line is raising the top of your head slightly. Relax your body and close your eyes. Feel this position as one of dignity and compassion. Make it joyful.
2. As you sit, become aware of your breathing. Let your attention feel the in and out of your breath. You may notice it as a coolness in your nostrils or you may notice the gentle rise and fall of your tummy as you inhale and exhale. Allow your breath's rhythm to be whatever it is. Do not force it in any way.
3. After a little while, you will notice that your attention has been diverted to something other than your breath. It could be sound, a thought, a memory, a body sensation. Acknowledge the distraction by giving a name to it, such as "itching", "worrying", "bored" or whatever names it. Then let it pass and return your attention to the breath. All meditators become distracted. It is normal. Just be willing to bring your attention back when you notice that it has wandered.
4. When you are finished, allow your attention to come back gently into the room.
Meditation can be done using an object as your object of focus, such as a favourite stone or plant or a positive quality that you'd like to bring more of into your life. In this case you would notice all the details of this object, size, colour, texture, warmth and all other details.Exercise:
You will add to your skills today in your time with the tree you have chosen. Sit or stand with the tree you have chosen. Stay with it or 15 minutes as a minimum. While you are there, evoke that same sense of love and affection as you did before. Do not expect results. Just be with the tree.
Repeat the process of listening to the Song of Your Being. As you did last time, imagine that you are using the pure and beautiful energies of your tree to enhance your ability to move into your own energy.
Keep your attention gently focused on your relationship with the tree, throughout your time with it. When your attention wanders, note what took place and then release it to bring your attention back to your time with the tree.Journal:
In your notebook, notice how easily you were distracted. Remember that distractions are normal. You are not trying to achieve a state of utter absorption. Minor distractions that are noticed right away can give you an indication that you are on the right track.
See if focus is something that comes easily to you. Did you have trouble with this? If so, do you know why? Is there anything you can you do to turn this around?What this was like for me:
I have never had much trouble with focus or concentration, but I do find myself easily distracted when my life seems to be full of problems. Regular meditation practice has helped me enormously.Questions others have asked:
Q. How long do I have to be able to focus without distraction?
A. Not as long as you might fear. Length of time in focus, while important, is not as important as the quality of your experience.
As with the rest of this course, everything here is optional. Do what is right for you at your own pace.
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