Nature. Nature is you. Get in touch with yourself. Send you a postcard. Better yet, get some real face-time.
When we reconnect with our biological ecosystem—our environment—we also reconnect with our spirit. It may seem that nature is merely the physical world around us, the world ruled by physical law and materiality. However, nature is everything—from the wave to the particle, from the subtle energy of the universe to we what we know as the “real” material world.
When I think of the word “nature”, what often comes to mind are the science and nature TV shows I grew up with as a child. So it’s through this filter that I often conflate nature and the world of biological science. This must a be common experience. But when I am out in nature myself, I feel I’m connected to a being greater than myself, a far cry from acting as an objective observer. When I look at the ocean, I feel the ocean is alive. When I look at the stars, I feel the particular celestial collective I’m gazing upon is gazing back, communicating to me through light. When I’m in a forest I feel the trees, the rocks, and the earth are all supporting me and embracing me.
They say that John Muir was often found a walking through the great Yosemite park talking to trees, and furthermore, listening to them.
That offers up a great point… to communicate to nature, you don’t need to talk to it—although, you can do that if you’re alone, or simply don’t give a sh-t. Listening to nature is probably the best way to communicate to nature.
Now, the biological structure of nature is beautiful.
The vast array of chemical interactions, microscopic compounds orchestrating themselves into broader hierarchies of mineral, plant, animal, and finally ecosystem, is nothing short of a miracle. But there is another aspect of nature that includes all of that, but also includes the more subtle realities—those that ancient cultures named spirit, but that modern physics also validates.
There is a pattern in nature, and also in the mind, and in the body, and in the spirit.
That pattern might be called the “nature of reality”. That pattern can be seen by those spiritual adepts who have trained in meditation, attaining what might be called clairvoyance. For others the pattern can be felt, perceived when you feel at one with nature, and also literally seen in the twisting surface of the natural world. The organic-feeling, yet subtle and energetic, pattern has been called many things. It has been called the Tao, the Merkaba, the World Tree, and also the Tree of Life. The references many world religions and myths make to a sort of cosmic tree, which is entangled in the material world, but also has its roots in the spiritual realms, illustrate the kind of awareness I’m talking about—a sort of unifying, organic-feeling, spiritual awareness.
An organic pattern of light is often perceived by meditators, and entheogenic participants.
In fact, there is a scientific term for the light perceived when none enters the eye—phosphene. The easiest way to induce phosphenes is by rubbing the eyes, but the resulting perception is crude. Meditators may experience a more stabilized, or crystalized, perception of what might be a phosphene field, a source of perceivable energy beyond physical light. The award winning scholar and professor of Cognitive Archaeology, Dr. David Lewis-Williams believes phosphene perception—perhaps enhanced by psychoactive plants—influenced the cave art of Paleolithic peoples. His books include The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art.
Perhaps this type of awareness is what modern physics concepts such as String Theory are hinting at as well.
Maybe we can think of these strings—which represent multiple dimensions crisscrossing the realms of both matter and immaterial energy—rather, as branches. We can think of these strings as leaves, roots, or even cosmic neurons. Overall, what we see is that nature is a unified whole. We also see that nature is has its roots in an immaterial world of energy—this is what modern physics tells us is true.
So it isn’t, as the more shallow new age philosophers try to tell us, that this world is an illusion.
It is the divisions we create, with our judgment and perception of the world, that are the illusion. There is a greater whole, there is a larger pattern, and in perceiving it, we realize that we are utterly connected, indeed one, with nature and everything that exists. When I reconnect with nature, when I’m out in nature—near the ocean, or in a park, or hiking in the hills—I can feel that. I can also see it. Therefore I believe it, connecting to nature is one of the best ways to connect to your spiritual nature.