In the last lesson you found out who can talk with nature and if there are any good times for it. You also had an exercise in sensing energy, which expanded upon the exercises you have completed in focus and concentration. In this lesson we begin to learn the actual techniques people have used for talking with nature.
In all methods there seem to be common attitudes and conditions that I have found can help:
Making time for it: The more time we spend in nature, the better, as far as communication goes. It takes practice.
Inventiveness: If you have trouble coming up with fine qualities with which to view a particularly pesky insect, try finding one or two and then looking up more in a thesaurus. As you warm up to the practice, it improves.
Humility: In many of our cultures and societies, we have been raised to believe that since we are on the top of the food chain, we are superior to other aspects of nature. Yet I have found that each aspect of nature has something to tell us if we will listen. We need humility to listen. Our contact with nature is an exchange of ideas. Some people who talk with nature suggest that this humility is the most important ingredient to success.
Lightheartedness: Joy, humour, play and fun open our energies in ways that nothing else can. We came into this world full of eagerness to explore, learn and play as though life were meant to be fun. By approaching nature with a sense of fun, I feel we bring that deep wellspring of love and creativity into all the events and situations that we meet.
Belief: Remembering it is in us all. I feel this is our birthright.
Eagerness: We will need to be open to the potential changes that this connection can bring about. There is no doubt that this can change us.
Imagination: A creative imagination can help too, as you may have discovered with the earlier exercises. It can be difficult to put these experiences into a framework that is understandable at first. Through the doorway of imagination we connect, and through the use of imagination we can make sense of what we perceive.
Openness - Curiosity: When we listen to nature, our perceptions may be random, scattered fragments of thoughts which when put together add up to a communication. Or they may be tactile, visual or auditory. First efforts may see information flood in, or it may come in at barely a trickle. Our imagination and experience weave together to create a unique experience for each of us based on our unique framework of beauty and understanding. So it helps to be curious. To wonder. What it will be like?
Gratitude: Appreciating what is happening opens us to more of the same. I have found that the more we give, the more we get.Techniques:
J Allen Boone suggest that these are the steps he uses for connecting with animal energy in his book "Kinship With All Life":
1. Search for the finer qualities in the animal with the aid of a dictionary or thesaurus 2. Study what the animal does with those qualities in his moment to moment living
In "The Deva Handbook", Nathaniel Altman gives us these guidelines for connecting with Nature:
1. Have a flexible timetable. Make sure that you have adequate time to spend several hours on your visit, which should be for as long as you feel comfortable. If possible, leave your watch at home.
2. Approach the place you are visiting with a spirit of friendliness and silent receptivity. Devas do not generally respond well to loud, sudden noises. They are often afraid of humans, who are the primary destroyers of the devas' natural world. So walk softly and gently.
3. Relax and "settle in." Take the time to become aware of the tremendous variety of living beings in the area: the larger and smaller plants, the flying and creeping insects, the birds and other mammals, the rocks, the waves and other natural forms.
4. Strive to use as many senses as possible. Smell the flower. Touch the tree. Listen to the insects, the birds, and the wind. Allow the water to run through your fingers. Take the time to carefully observe the life around you. Place your focus on what attracts your attention and allow your innate curiosity to guide your observation. If you are looking at a tree, examine it carefully, from the roots to the leaves. Observe how it moves in the wind. See the rustle of the leaves and the texture of the bark. Observe the shape of the branches and the leaves. Remember that using your sense of sight does not need to involve thinking, evaluating, or analyzing. It involves simple visual observation. Now close your eyes and use your other senses to learn more. Listen to the rustle of the leaves. Touch the trunk and branches and feel the texture of the bark. Press your nose against the tree and smell the bark. Lean against the tree and feel its energetic presence.
Another activity involves simply going to a place of your choice (such as a patch of grass among taller plants, a clearing by a stream, or a clearing surrounded by trees). Lie down comfortably on your back and look up at the sky. As you take some deep, relaxing breaths, strive to feel as though you are actually merging or becoming what you are lying upon. Listen to the sounds. You may also want to close your eyes and use other senses to commune with your environment.
All those who have made suggestions seem to bring these basic steps into the process:
1. Bring an attitude of respect, gratitude, love and humility.Exercise:
2. Find a place that is appropriate and become totally aware of it using all 5 senses.
3. Become aware of your own energy.
4. Invoke your intent to connect with nature and to realize your oneness with nature. Make this intent clear.
5. Open to receive anything that the nature spirits will send your way.
6. Thank the spirits.
7. Keep the link in use.
With all the above in mind, and after reviewing the material we have covered to date, go out to your tree and make a connection. By now you will have established a relationship with the tree.
It is important to keep a sense of play about the whole issue. If you get too caught up in whether or not it's provable or real, you can lose the sense of wonder and imaginative creative play that brings the highest results. It's also important to let the connection be what it is. If you push, you'll lose it. You're better to sit back and allow it to happen.Journal:
Jot down what you experienced in your connection with your tree.What this was like for me:
Each time I go out to listen to nature, I have a different experience. There are times when things seem to flow beautifully and other times when I seem to have a head full of worries or distractions. Sometimes, when I go out, expecting to get more information about a topic I have been discussing with nature, I get the strong impression that this is not the right time or day for that. Instead, it seems right just to bask in the joy of being a part of all this greatness. At times, I seem to feel as though I am being carried along the current of the stream and at other times, I am a witness to impressions and sensations that I can't put easily into words. Sometimes, I feel like I'm making it all up and other times, the words pour out of me so quickly I can barely keep up.
I have found that anything we experience in nature is perfect for that moment.Questions others have asked:
Q. How can I remember to go through all those steps when connecting with nature?
A. You will find that after a while it is automatic. When you get a sense that something is not quite right, just review your steps.
Q. Native Americans always leave an offering when working with nature. Shouldn't I do that, too?
A. That's up to you. Whatever you feel is right for you. Offerings are about showing respect and gratitude when out in nature. John MIlton suggests that we leave something behind when we are out in nature as a show of gratitude. Something we really like, like chocolate. It's up to you.
As with the rest of this course, everything here is optional. Do what is right for you at your own pace.
References and further reading:
Kinship With All Life by J Allen Boone, ISBN: 9780060609122
The Deva Handbook, by Nathaniel Altman, ISBN: 9780892815524
Sky Above, Earth Below by John P Milton, Recordings, Sounds True
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