Learning to live in harmony with Nature
From as early as I can recall, I have been deeply in love with life, with Nature. Then, as I grew up, the tragic reality of our sense of separation from Nature painfully dawned on me. I searched for what was behind this corruption, hoping to find some rhyme or reason, but alas found only illusion.
In our busy humdrum of everyday living, we live largely devoid of the visceral awareness of real life and our real nature. So divorced we have become, so dis-embodied from the very natural awareness that is right within us. It does not take much insight to see that our current ‘civilisation’ is caught up in endless errands and activities aimed at solving the cravings of our grasping, anxious egos and in-so-doing only polluting ourselves and our world as we lose sight of the very thing that provides us meaning and aliveness. The illusion in our midst is in desperate need of being shattered. But this can be threatening to our ego’s comfort blanket of security and separateness. To breakout of the endless cravings without a taste of what lies beyond is no mean feat.
‘Understanding the illusion only comes after the understanding of reality, not before…Until we have the experience of reality, in all its stillness, we are still lost.’ – Peter Kingsley
Today’s society breeds psychic atrophy and physical violence. Acculturated habits and behaviours feed a vicious cycle of consumeristic materialism twisting us down economic pathways we then struggle to escape from: enter debt-based materialism enslaving many of today’s families, organisations and institutions. The more we get caught up in the illusion, the more it pollutes our attention and intention, infecting how we relate to ourselves, each other and the world around us. Yes, most certainly, there are powerful forces at play that benefit from keeping us so hopelessly dependent upon this cancerous consumerism. And yet none but ourselves can free our minds from this mental slavery, as Bob Marley knew.
The way out of this dangerous delusion and back into reality is through Nature. By ‘Nature’ I do not mean something ‘out there’, but the very ground-of-being within and all around us; the intangible (psychic) and tangible (physical) worlds we are immersed within. By learning to open ourselves us to this ground-of-being, we rob the illusion of its conscious energy by bringing our attention into reality. Through the quality of our attention we can learn to attune with Nature. Interestingly, this is what all the ancient wisdom traditions agree on and it is what the shamanic and tantric cultures of old have understood for millennia. It is only our current cultural spasm of humanity that has largely forgotten this primordial truth.
With recent advances in neuroscience, Western science is coming to terms with the fact that the brain is just one organ of perception within a ‘bodymind’ network of perception (we now know the heart and gut are powerful neural organs which inter-relate with the brain and wider nervous, hormonal and lymphatic networks). Western science is also coming to terms with the fact that we are not separate organisms struggling for survival in a competitive world, but that we live within a sea of sentience, of electromagnetic and non-local quantum inter-relations. Our ‘bodyminds’ are our vessel for sensing and responding – consciously and unconsciously – amid this sea of sentience within and all around us: perceived this way we begin to see daily life as a somatic, social and soulful swim in the spontaneous synchronistic currents of Sophia (Nature’s wise ways which we would do well to attune to).
(above image from Holonomics, by Simon and Maria Robinson)
In learning to develop our felt sense of being-in-the-world, we can become more conscious of the subtle, energetic perturbations within and all around us. The more aware we become, the more alive and vital we are, and the more resilient we are to challenges and tensions, intuitions and perturbations in our environment. We regain our sense of soma and our sense of the innermost weave of the world, as Goethe described it, which is our soulful way of being beyond the superficiality of the fragmenting ego ‘I’. The real pursuit of happiness is found in this way of being, in the very poiesis (calling forth) of life, not through the fickle ego’s endless grasping of having, wanting, owning, controlling, consuming but in the natural flow of grace beyond illusion.
‘To be fully present in this moment is a lifelong enterprise. To be centered is to be present with self, others and the environment; it’s to be open to the wisdom and intelligence of life; it’s to be deeply connected to what is sacred and holy…we discover the sacred that exists within our somatic process. The divine that lies below the daily protocols and routines of our programmed life is revealed to us. Our chest fills with warmth; there’s more room for others, as well as the grasses, the dome of sky, the stones, animals, and waters. We come into contact with our interconnectedness with all life, animate and inanimate. We’re touched by something holy’ – Richard Strozzi-Heckler
And so, learning to live in harmony with Nature is the most radical of undertakings and the foundation for any sustainable future. As we re-member this path of living in harmony with Nature it becomes the only path worth our walk. I say ‘re-member’ as it is a re-membering of who we are, an embodied felt-sense – a somatic membering – of our own selves as social, soulful inter-related beings: sacred expressions in a sacred world.
We may learn to attend to our bodily experiences through engaging in certain practices such as somatic bodywork, contemplative practices, dance, breath-work, expressive arts therapy, chanting, yoga, t’ai chi, qigong, etc.. Yet, lest we forget, our everyday living provides us with a richness of bodily sensations. As we go about our daily activities – pavement walking, sipping a cuppa, listening to another, catching a stranger’s smile or eye, tripping upon ourselves, feeling the wind on our skin, sensing our heart flutter with the rhythm on the radio or a passing scent of another – we can bring ourselves home to our being-in-the-world, awaken our attention to the present moment. The more we sense this somatic awareness, the more we cultivate this awareness, the more we open up to this beautiful and wise world beyond the narrowing-down confines of our ego-chatter. This is real life untamed, unfettered, wild and raw: Nature uncut and well beyond anything we can own, confine, control or define.
We are living and breathing the consequences of a disembodied life which impoverishes us emotionally, socially, economically, environmentally and spiritually. We are suffering from poverty at the most fundamental of levels – a poverty of spirit which de-sacralises life itself. This poverty undermines our relationship with our selves, each other and the wider world. We rectify this polluting paradigm by simply bringing our awareness into our bodies and into the presencing of life unadulterated by our own illusions. Small steps with full-bodied attentive awareness will get us out of this pickle, nothing more, nothing less.
Each moment offers us the chance to place these small steps of change.
‘We cannot do great things, we can only do small things with great love’ – Mother Teresa
We are expressions of Nature and we all have the natural capacity to remember this sacred Dance of Life; it is running through our veins and beating in our hearts. Through attention and intention, we can permit ourselves to fall back in love with life.
‘This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts. It’s in natural grace’ – Faithless
‘Choose your future. Choose life.’ – Trainspotting
To explore ‘the new paradigm’ further, join the Face Book community here
Also see here for a recent Conscious.tv interview
And a Podcast series about living beyond illusion.