When I’m feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with my work or the state of the world, I like to take time to connect on a deeper level with nature. Such experiences help me relax and rejuvenate me. One favourite practice is to sit in quiet meditation and to visualize a natural landscape. I try not to control the visualization or to aid in the construction of the landscape in any way. As I relax and sink deeper into myself, into nature, often very clear pictures emerge in my mind’s eye. Many times, an animal will appear in the visualization and lately that animal has been a woodpecker and sometimes a woodpecker with a humming bird. After I’ve sat and meditated for awhile (the construct of time kind of disappears during these moments) and I come back to ‘reality’ I research the animal that appeared to me, according to ancient native wisdom and philosophy. Usually, I try to follow up these experiences with hikes in the forest and since my woodpecker meditations, the woodpecker has appeared to me frequently. Almost every time I have hiked, I have seen signs of a woodpecker, heard a woodpecker or seen a woodpecker. According to ancient wisdom, the woodpecker is a symbol of divine work, with a connection to the spirit world. I have taken more time to sit, in the forest or at home, and reflect upon the wisdom that woodpecker brings to my personal experience. When I think about what woodpecker means to me, in relation to what I have heard/read about their symbolic meaning, I like to think in holistic terms. Life is what each individual being gives to the greater system in terms of energy inputs… to me this giving of life is work, divine work, as signified by the woodpecker.
To me, the connections between self and the rest of life are numerous, so numerous as to be completely interconnected. I am nature and nature is me. I am nature, thinking of nature. I am nature, giving life to the system, putting my energy into the divine work of sustaining life. Unfortunately, I think we (in Western society) too quickly shrug off our interconnection with nature and assume that work is money instead of either life affirming or life taking. We shrug off the influence that we as ‘individuals’ have on the entire system and follow empty paths comprising unfulfilling work. These small acts, of shrugging off our connections to life, build up and take a toll on our psyches and on the world in which we live.
Above is one example of meaning I find in nature. Nature ‘inside’ myself and ‘outside’ myself and where those two aspects of nature intersect (the parts we hold within us, and the parts that exist outside of us). I believe nature has the ability to reflect timely messages to us, if we only take the time to observe and be open to those messages. One key first step to becoming open to those messages is to recognize that each and everyone of us is a part of nature and that there really is no ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of ‘me’. Nature just is… and it holds ancient wisdom in the many life forms it takes.
Posted: Friday, April 30th, 2010