I have long noticed, that being out in the countryside or even sitting in the garden, surrounded by living growing things, seems to envelope me in a calm and soothing energy. My body, in spite of itself relaxes. My breathing becoming calm, deep and regular. That slowing down of thought and mind I have to strive for, within the confines of my home, here seems to happen naturally.
I believe that the earth is a sentient and self regulating entity, that adapts and maintains the suitable conditions for life on our planet. This process seems to happen with ease, a fluid and natural thing. Do we as human beings have the ability to tap into this phenomena, and in doing so, can we use it as a means to re balance our own natural energies, that are often out of sync?
Man has had a sacred and spiritual connection to the earth since time immemorial. Not simply because we have depended on the land to feed and sustain us. But on a much deeper and profound level. Having always had a natural affinity myself with the energies of the earth. The rocks, the trees and water sources I can understand this.
On a spiritual level, there are many places in nature where we feel the touch of the sacred. We sanctify these places as somewhere we can directly connect to the source of all things. The grand creator who formed the earth and ourselves. This in itself I believe creates a symbiotic relationship between man and nature.
The nature writer Barry Lopez, describes it in the following way. “On his evening walks while camped in the Arctic regions of Alaska, he would bow in homage to the “intense and concentrated beauty”, to the birds and animals who reveled in the freezing conditions, and “to the serene Arctic light that came over the land like breath, like breathing”. Here the outer landscape merges with the inner terrain and takes ‘our’ breath away”.
Being in wild nature engenders a sense of mystery about the world; a sense of awe or wonderment about the earth; a sense of connectedness or oneness with the natural world; a profound feeling of transcendence (within and without); a belief in a power greater than oneself; and an appreciation of the beauty in nature. It sparks feelings of inner peace, hope, joy and empowerment; promotes physical and emotional well-being, and brings about ‘significant’ changes in attitude and behaviour.
I know myself when I gaze upon a mountain range, I have a deep sense of being in the presence of something of great majesty. I feel so tiny and insignificant. My sense of self just a flash, a minute spark in the grand scheme of things. And yet, I also feel as if ‘I’ am part of the rock, an overpowering sense of kinship I can’t define. A strange paradox, to feel so insignificant and temporary and yet ancient and eternal all at the same time.
I believe, that the way in which human beings treat the earth, is a reflection of the way in which we treat ourselves. Just as when we abuse the earth and take away her natural resources without thought of consequence. Do we abuse our own bodies, putting it under tremendous pressure to perform without replenishing it.
Have you ever had a sacred or spiritual experience when out in nature? If the answer is yes, I would love to hear about it.