– Heartwood Path Waypoint 1.19 –
Undertake Practices That Lead To A Sense Of The Whole
Spiritual practice begins in awareness –– a self-sensing of objective reality –– and leads to consciousness –– the “very substratum of all existence” (Paul, 2004, p. 214). Awareness pin-points an object, bringing it into one’s perception. Consciousness
“is complete and inclusive; it is a sense of the whole . . . Spiritual practice (ought to) always be undertaken on behalf of the whole. That is why the systemic development of consciousness is essential to spirituality” (Paul, 2004, pp. 214-215).
Doing spiritual practices in the midst of everyday life is too full of distractions. That is one reason why we will be asking you to find an attractive natural being and, even better, an attractive natural being surrounded by an attractive landscape or seascape, free of unsettling artificial distractions. This finding will reveal that your deepest roots are in nature.
Connecting with your natural roots satisfies essential needs. Fulfilling these needs are reason enough to search for and connect with a natural being and its nourishing realm, as you will be directed to do over and over again along the Heartwood Path. “Whether you’re aware of it or not,” writes Charles Cook, “you still have a vital need for regular, meaningful contact with this nourishing realm” (2001, p. vii).
Do not miss an opportunity to actually visit a natural being as you conduct Heartwood Path activities. Do not try to save time by being an armchair course participant. And do not try to avoid the tribulations of being exposed to nature.
Remember that the tragedy of your life will not be about what makes you pass out. The big mishap of your life will be about what you pass up. Don’t let nature be among these.
“ . . . it’s difficult to stay stressed out or maintain a negative mood while quietly focusing or meditating on nature . . . troubles shrink to more manageable sizes while you are away, and you can later view them ‘through fresh eyes’ from a more balanced perspective affected by your experiences in nature . . . (Cook, 2001, pp. viii-xv).
For these reasons and more, the Heartwood Path will help you develop a meaningful and lasting personal relationship with nearby natural beings and their natural surroundings.
“When you begin weaving more of nature into your everyday existence . . .your sense of life may open up to encompass the much richer, more complex, more communal, and more timeless universe that you’re actually part of . . . What we have to gain from our efforts is no less than the preservation of life on this remarkable planet” (Cook, 2001, pp.255-258).
Armed with these motives, the following activity offers some tips you can use for tracking down an attractive natural being.