“The first dream of God is the wilderness which he spreads at our feet.”
--C. A Meier, A Testament to the Wilderness
Mother Nature governs herself in three ways: (1) everything in nature is constantly creating and diversifying; (2) everything has a purpose for its existence; and (3) everything co-exists and fosters the principle of interdependence. Since we are also creatures of nature, we, too, innately relate to these principles. We have a basic need and instinct to create, to apply our gifts and talents in new and innovative ways in order to manifest something new. We all have a purpose and reason for being here, whether we discover it early in life, late, or not at all, and whether we choose to fulfill it or not. And while freedom and independence are available for us to exercise, our gifts and talents can only flourish within the principle of interdependence. Nothing survives in nature if it is fiercely independent or excessively dependent. The heart of interdependence requires collaboration and reciprocity.
We can benefit greatly from observing nature’s laws through the eyes of others. In his last book, The Wisdom of the Wilderness, renowned psychologist Gerald May describes how nature replenished him and provided comfort during the final year of his life. He felt an interconnectedness and mutual reciprocity that he found holy and transcendent. Poet Mary Oliver writes about her daily encounters with nature. Much of her writing is filled with gratitude for what she has been privileged to learn from, and witness in nature. She poignantly describes the insights she has gathered from nature that can be applied to her life and relationships, capturing the beauty and blessing of nature as well as her deep appreciation for these encounters.
The Book of Job tells us, “Speak to the Earth and it shall teach thee.” Also, many indigenous people worldwide believe that the natural world teaches us not only about our own nature, but about interdependence in relationship to our life’s purpose. These are some of nature’s essential gifts. When has the power of nature helped you gain clarity about your purpose; or when have you felt a sense of mutual reciprocity as you have applied your gifts and talents in new ways?
--Excerpts from Living in Gratitude, pages 134-136.
Practices and Reflection
An exceptional example of a human being’s connection to Nature is Miyoko Shida Rigolo’s breathtaking performance in demonstrating the spectacular interface of what can be created from the profound power of interdependence between nature and the human spirit. Truly an extraordinary example of grace, beauty, balance, and heartfelt focus and intention! Notice what came up for you as you witnessed Nature’s Laws of Governance revealed in the creation of a moving mobile from a simple feather and tree branches. Nature always teaches us about the balance, beauty and interconnectedness that comes from following what has heart and meaning for us. Where in your life is this currently happening? What aspects of nature inspire your creativity? Where are you fostering collaboration, interdependence, cooperation, mutuality and reciprocity in your life at this time?
The more quality time we spend in nature, the more we get in touch with our internal nature. What is your current relationship to nature and how much time do you spend outdoors in nature? What aspects of nature do you love the most–the mountains, deserts, waters, or deep woods? What are you currently learning from nature, and what is it teaching you when you speak to it? Give gratitude to what you have learned from nature this month, or from what has strengthened in your own nature this month.
In a single generation, because of the use of computers and social networking, children do not spend much time in nature, and they suffer for this lack of connection to the natural world. Adults are not immune from this; we too, are experiencing what psychologists and teachers have identified as nature-deficit disorder, which is the subject of Richard Louv’s book, Lost Child of the Woods: Saving our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder. For the rest of this month, commit to spending one full hour outdoors everyday, to discover what nature mirrors back to you through Nature’s Three Laws of Governance.