– Heartwood Path Waypoint 1.23 –
Delight In Beings Outdoors
I am happy that you are progressing this far in your odyssey towards your own happiness and towards environmental sustainability. Continuing on this path will be comprehensively curative--that is, it will help you mend not just your physical maladies but also your unhealthful points of view. This mending will occur best once you absorb a bit more about NNIAAL, elaborated in the following eight sections.
The Essence Of Nature
The cure found along the Heartwood Path comes largely from NNIAAL: the essence of nature—the ethereal quality of nature I call the “Enduring Stream.” From an awareness of this spiritual aspect of nature comes education, healing, guidance, and growth.
One cannot see this remedy as a separate entity, Still, it is nearly everywhere, especially outdoors. It exists now, perpetually.
Whenever confusion occurs to you along this or any other pathway of growth, the first most fruitful remedy will likely be in remembering and taking to heart the Sanskrit phrase: “Tat Tvam asi” (Johnson, 1939, p.378). It means:
Thou art that.
This individual is that individual. Each is an aspect of the One Supreme. Until this notion is taken to heart the pilgrim will spend too much time in the earlier stages of growth--that of scattering (running after all sorts of objects), darkening (dullness, laziness, evilness), and gathering (overcoming scattering and darkening) before arriving at the final stage of concentration (“the one-pointed form of mental action” –– that undisturbed state of mind that is free from all distractions and preoccupations–– which can result in what we will call “samadhi” (Johnson, 1939, pp. 378-379).
Throughout this pilgrimage we will remind the sojourner of what is said in Vedic literature: “Ekam sat vipra bahunda vadanti” (Johnson, 1939, p.376-377). Translated in English:
That which exists is one: sages call it by various names.
We too will call it by various names; but during the meditative processes described along the Heartwood Path it is most accurate and best to allow it to be nameless. It can be experienced, but not through words or stories. Words are mere representations of it. Tales tell mere tiny tidbits of its constitution and technique.
One soon learns that great personal and social remedies stem from the Nameless One that is also intelligent. These remedies are hidden to most people because the Nameless One is, to them, invisible. Yet the invisible Nameless One is pervasive. Its therapeutic tonic is available for humans and nonhumans alike. This pervasive, hidden Nameless One is not only conscious, it is wise.
The pervasive, hidden Nameless One cures disorders and relieves symptoms in the most intelligent way. Without producing pollution, it creates a uni-verse of beauty and diversity.
That is one reason why the tonic offered by the Nameless One is so attractive. “Tat Tvam asi” (Thou art that): this intelligent, nameless, infinite, and perpetually present unseen one is the tonic that is awareness of attraction itself. Let me repeat, for this point is critical:
The remedial nectar found along the Heartwood Path is awareness of attraction itself.
The Nameless One offers a remedy that comes from the attractiveness of the way it presents itself to us, in pleasing points in the stream of our awareness. Its flowing remedial nectar (inseparable from itself except in inaccurate perception and in language) is fascinating, engrossing, and alluring. It is magnetism, it is erotic, it is the pull between lovers, it is the hold of gravity, and it is the draw of one’s attention to attractions in nature. This current of Now’s nameless, intelligent attraction, has yet another important aspect.
From “vivek”––the right discrimination––that occurs in the gathering stage of the meditative process to “vairagya”––the mental detachment of oneself from the external world––that occurs in a later stage of the meditative process––we shall encourage Heartwood Path sojourners to go all the way to the first glimpse of the highest meditative plateau, gain the reward found there (mental detachment), then come back one step so the material world is still important. In doing so, the sojourner will discover the fantastic inherent intelligence of Nature, realize the fruits of being a sage, but work on behalf of all sentient beings in the real world as a saint.
Even when asked to identify and go to an attractive natural being or place (as you will be asked to do repeatedly along the Heartwood Path), love your attractive natural being as it loves you--without attachment and without desire. A mind full of such clinging sensual desires will enslave the soul and reduce the positive impact of the One’s intelligent remedies. To remove any blocks in the flow of the One’s healing nectar, continue to seek out your attractions in nature. Stifling such callings is counterproductive because negations such as “Thou shalt not” are ineffective. Better than stifling oneself is finding something better for oneself.
In this way you can remain fruitfully unattached by continuing to seek out natural beings of desire where the nectar of the One is most concentrated while, at the same time, perceiving and considering them as something that is greater than mere physical natural beings or outdoor places. Think of your attractions in nature not as desired things or places, for these things and places are impermanent and, at higher planes of your personal development, they will prove to be distracting and stultifying for you.
It is very important to think of the attractive beings as arisings in your awareness. Think of them, more specifically, as wonderful connection experiences. Consider these experiences as passages, audible in both the outer and inner worlds (which is all one), as parts of the healing, guiding, and informative symphony of the life stream.
As one experiences nature in the now, without imposing names, by paying attention to its intelligence, and by receiving helpful and healthful gifts from its attractive natural beings, one becomes embraced by nature’s love. In nature’s nurturing encirclement, one becomes quickened as one is enfolded by teeming vitality. Full of vim, activity, vigor, and current, nature is animated. She is both sentient and alive.
Love is the affection for learning, the adoration of nature, the devotion to purpose, the caring for people, the affection for pets, and the keenness for whatever one finds irresistible. The remedy is found in the flow of affection, the torrent of passion, the current of interest, and the stream of enthusiasm. It is not a dammed up sort of love, full of stifling attachments.
It is a higher sort of love that, odd to many in the beginning of their pilgrimage, is loving but not possessive. There is love but there is no self-identification with the object of one’s love. We can say that this is a higher form of love because one is better able to serve those whom one loves when one is not enslaved by clinging possessiveness and the expectation of receiving rewards from one’s love objects.
The sun shines on all yet asks for nothing in return. Spread your love in a similar fashion.
Detached love is the ideal. The soul lives on and on by giving, not by receiving. You will get most by giving most.
The Enduring Stream
The curative nectar reveals itself as a current—both in the sense of being in the perpetual present but also in the sense that, despite its ever-changing presentation to the world, it always has the tendency to move freely without a break. It surges without interruption in the inner world of intentions and ethics. It flows endlessly in the manifested outer world of behaviors and things.
Designating And Exhibiting
Naming and manifestation only occurs when a human consciously perceives something apart, something at the drying edge of this metaphorical enduring stream. For example:
“Take in the glowing crimson color (of a rose flower) and say to yourself, ‘Without me, this flower would have no color...” Realize that if you subtract yourself from a sensation—sight, sound, touch, taste, smell—the rose would be nothing but atoms vibrating in a void” (Chopra, 2004, p.30).
Despite all the gleanings that come from the limited awareness of the manifested stagnant pools left abandoned by the enduring stream, and despite the limited awareness of the persistence of personal, social and environmental ills, the limited awareness shows us that the underlying source of our problems does not lie in metaphorical isolated pools of named techniques or in the named things that we do not truly love. Essential cures to pervasive problems––problems that are personal and problems that are ecological––come from the broader consciousness of the powerful, silent, and invisible yet venerable Enduring Stream itself.
The Curative Powers Of Wholeness
While traveling a certain path along the Enduring Stream one discovers that the root of remedy cannot be detached from the whole. Now’s ever-changeable, ever-present, intelligent, attractive, loving and lovable current that I call “The Enduring Stream™” is, unlike the previously mentioned Horseshoe Lake of my youth, too wide to be named and too deep to be fathomable. No man-made bridge, however grand, can span the unabridged flow of nature.
One Trail To Healing, Guiding, And Growth-producing Experiences Is Called The “Heartwood Path”
Too much for words, what I call The Enduring Stream™ is best perceived through experience; which, fortunately for those taking this course, can be adequately described with a careful use of the alphabet. In this course, I will describe the healing, guiding, and growth-producing experiences one can have while following a specific path propelled by the Enduring Stream.
The Heartwood Path is that specific trail. Powering those who traverse its informative sections is the Enduring Stream which is an aspect of the Absolute Spirit, the One. As such, along the Heartwood Path one engages in a divine-human collaboration aimed at helping sojourners find their deep gladness at the intersection of the world’s deep hunger. It takes you and the Enduring Stream to find this place. The Absolute Spirit in the form of the Enduring Stream alone will not do the job. You without the Enduring Stream cannot do the job. As the Pope is to God, those who follow the Heartwood Path become the Absolute Spirit’s vicegerents on Earth. As we all know, eartHearts used to be agnostics, but now they aren’t sure.
The Enduring Stream Provides The Power,
The Heartwood Path Provides The Direction
The power of the Enduring Stream and the direction of the Heartwood Path lead to and put to use a love of nature that feeds one’s spirit through the experience of the wild. Why is this important? “For unless we see it, smell it, or touch it, we tend to forget it, and our souls wither” (Maathai, 2010, p. 89).
R.D. Lang (Jensen, 2000) has some important things to say about the influence of experience on behavior: “Our behavior is a function of our experience. We act according to the way we see things. If our experience is destroyed, our behavior will be destructive. If our experience is destroyed, we have lost our own selves” (p. 1).
Despite the separating armor of technologies we use indoors, our “creaturely body, shaped in ongoing interaction with the outer bodies that compose the biosphere, remains poised and thirsting for a relatively unmediated exchange with reality in all its more-than-human multiplicity and weirdness” (Abram, 2010, p. 264). “We could never have survived, as a species, without our propensity for animistic engagement with every aspect of our earthly habitat. And yet this highly adaptive style of experience has lain mostly dormant in the modern era” (Abram, 2010. p. 266).
This series of courses addresses what happens when one uncovers the Enduring Stream while applying a few soon-to-be-discussed topics such as my own PIERCE Principle (“Being happy and saving the earth requires an achievable high level of spiritual maturity.”), Dr. Cohen’s Natural Systems Thinking Process, and Bill Plotkin’s Wheel of Life. The results obtained along the Heartwood Path have variety because the Enduring Stream, the PIERCE Principle, the Natural Systems Thinking Process, and the Wheel of Life—each encountered along the Heartwood Path—do not lead to a narrowly defined, predetermined end. By not interfering with each participating individual’s personal goals and needs and by the combined affects of all of these forces, assumptions, methodologies, developmental life-cycle models, and courses I feel the outcomes will be both diverse and significant.
Onward To Savoring
You are encouraged to proceed but not by only reading this text. That would be like reading about Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and never hearing it. To get right to experiencing, I will include five ways to savor in the following activity. Remember these ways, for they will be useful throughout your journey down the Heartwood Path.