– Heartwood Path Waypoint 17 –
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, 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 be 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.
“Of course, our consumer culture provides us with countless pleasures and benefits, which is why most of us remain loyal subjects; but it also gives short shrift to nature and promotes technology-mediated living. (Yet who) among us hasn’t sometimes longed to flee our stuffy spaces for the wider, green, more peaceful places of nature . . . Nature is like food for us––nourishment for the body, the senses, the mind, the spirit, the soul. . . . 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 . . . regular contact with nature is capable of enriching the content and quality of our dreams, stimulating an intensified sense of aliveness . . . (Nature’s benefits) come more easily than we expect . . . 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.
“Nature is a place where a more complex perspective on life can be acquired, where invaluable wisdom awaits the sincere seeker” (Cook, 2001, p. xviii). “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. Our personal problems are trivial in comparison” (Cook, 2001, pp.255-258)
Armed with these motives, here are some tips you can use for tracking down an attractive natural being.
If this is not a day when you prefer to spend time in nature without an agenda, do the following activity:
Tracking Down An Attractive Natural Being
HumaNatureConnect Activity: Tracking Down An Attractive Natural Being. Here’s how to find your non-human partners for this series of courses: Clear your mind. Forget time while looking for a natural being. Linger where you feel comfortable. Let go of worries. Be quiet while in nature. Do not try, just be. Forget identifying or naming the things you encounter. If you choose to write about them, described them without naming them. Look for uniqueness, without analyzing. Follow your heart into the wild. Do not worry what others may think. Like myself as a child, immerse yourself. Jump in the swamp, stand chest deep in murky water, look at the snake eye to eye, and lye down with the turtle. Or climb the tree, secure yourself in a safe spot, and meditate. To find animals: look where they would find food, water or cover. Search in areas where the terrain or vegetation changes. Consider the seasons and the time of day. To see nature: look at unfamiliar places, adopt the point of view of various animals, look wide but also up close, frame your viewing as a photographer would do. To hear nature: open your ears and close your eyes, cup your ears with your hands, and listen in concentric rings away from you. To smell nature: get down on all fours, pick up and and view things while holding them close to your nose, close your eyes. To taste nature: sample the paw-paws, catch and grill some fish, pick blackberries. To experience nature, combine all of the activities mentioned above.
Record your notes from this and every activity in your Heartwood Path Activity Log, which can be opened by clicking here.
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: