– Heartwood Path Waypoint 1.54 –
Move To The Integral State Of Spiritual Development
Along the Heartwood Path, participants are encouraged to move beyond the first three Stages discussed above to the fourth level, the Integral Stage. Part of the challenge at this stage is to make sure healthy masculine principles of autonomy, strength, and independence do not become, respectively, alienation, a morbid fear of relationships and commitment, and a drive to destroy. Another part of the challenge of adding depth to one’s character is making sure that the feminine aspect of flowing does not turn into panic, making sure relationships do not make one lose one’s individuality, making sure connection does not turn into a meltdown, and making sure compassion does not turn into burn-out. These are some of the challenges that lie ahead for you as you develop into the Integral Stage of Consciousness.
As you will see, the Heartwood Path does not present a random heap of ideas and practices. Instead, there is a pattern that connects both the theory (reading the text) and the practices (doing the activities). That pattern cultivates body, mind, and Spirit, in Self, culture, and Nature.
That cultivation is the simplest way to state what is done along the Heartwood Path. Body, mind and spirit are the layers of depth; and self, culture and nature are the aspects of breadth. By working to add both depth and breadth to one’s character, one grows fully. The growth occurs along a long route that requires a good map (described in the next section) and loving kindness (which will begin to be enhanced in you by the next activity).
If this is not a day when you prefer to spend time in nature without an agenda, do the following activity:
Developing Loving Kindness
Assuming the essence of your chosen natural object, tell yourself which acts of kindness you intend to do, how much, and how often. Make an affirmation that you offer loving kindness to others. Commit to actively varying your acts of kindness to keep them fresh and to provide for a good distribution of the benefits. Make sure that you do not over do it, as this will likely lead to bitterness or burnout. Sleep is perhaps the best way to not over-extend yourself.
How I sleep, for example, prepares me for my acts of loving kindness. I do not sleep under a roof, entombed in walls. Instead of lying in bed perusing the Internet on my iPad, I have the Outernet of stars, plants, comets, and other celestial bodies. My nocturnal ceiling, as if bedazzled by some mysterious cosmic disco ball, changes both with the seasons and with the daily turning of the earth. Sleeping as I do under the moon and the constellations shows me the benefits of breaking free of the walls of dogma, of breaking free of dry indoor mornings without a misting of dew, and of breaking free of indoor air devoid of the scented breezes and the negative ions that make me feel so positive. Sleeping each night outdoors under these conditions, and following whatever attractions I find in nature from just before sundown to just after sunrise, fuels my acts of kindness.
No jolting alarm clock can match the gently arousing and warming glow of daybreak as witnessed from a bed outdoors. Each sunrise shines like a universal smile of kindness.
After such a sunrise, the Sun and dew kindly sanitize my bed each day. After such a gift, I somehow find it easy to see the good of others in beautiful eyes and to more acutely hear the kind words of others from beautiful lips.
There is another Sun that brightens moods and spirits: the light of kindness. This Sun may not foster photosynthesis, but it does bring warmth and benevolence. Pay attention to both Suns. There is simply something transformative about waking up outdoors. Both bathing in natural sunlight and feeling the affection that shines in the light of nature’s selflessness quickens the senses, heightens the intuition, broadens the perspective, and triggers the acts of kindness.
With benefits such as these, I, for one, do not need a walled-in bedroom any more than I need an enclosed temple. My philosophy comes from behind my own temples and from my own religion, learned mostly by communing with nature both day and night. My own cardinal direction can be summarized in two words: be kind. It is a philosophy the deaf can hear, the blind can see, and the not-so-smart can appreciate.
Worth more than money, the lessons from my roofless church come not from sermons or pulpits but mostly from natural beings, including the northern mockingbird that scolds me every morning if I lie back down after sunrise. The comparison of this vociferous but seemingly unproductive gadabout to the quietness of the string of hardworking parading ants under my bed demonstrates to me how often constant talkers teach the value of occasional taciturnity, just as the crows who are unkind to the hawk remind me not only of the value of kindness but also of the value of protecting one’s own.
Down the hill from my outdoor sleeping place, about forty feet, are planted trees known by the fruits I can gather as my dog does his morning business: lemons, oranges, peaches, and avocados. Not yet known for my seeds, I, in contrast, am known for my deeds. The most important of these is the kindness I plant, meagerly, here and there. In this way I harvest the best reward: love.
Natural Systems Reflection Process
For best results, write down your impressions of this activity in your journal using as many of the following components as you see fit, afterwards, share your interpretations with others.
The Heartwood Path Exchange:
Swap Your Ideas, Impressions, Photos, And News With Others
Your input is vital. Enjoy sharing!
Heartwood Path Axioms: