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“The Naturalist” The Way of Nature

The Naturalist within us is most at ease and spiritually inspired when immersed in nature, experiencing a state of universal interconnection with all the elements of existence. 

  • Is your connection with nature sacred?
  • Do you regard nature as your place of worship?
  • Do you feel a special affinity with animals or plants?
  • Do you feel tranquility, oneness or inter-being when immersed in the natural world?
It is strange and tragic that so many have come to see themselves as separate from nature. And even when they admit that they are a part of nature, many still insist that they are at the top of the evolutionary ladder, a superior species, chosen by God (or Darwin) to be in charge of all the other minerals, plants, and animals of the Earth. This bias toward human superiority can be found in many of the world’s religious, philosophical and scientific traditions. Fortunately, within these same traditions, are other voices that lead us back into sacred communion with nature—the mother of us all. Reconnecting with nature happens so easily when we sit quietly in nature and allow our minds to cease their incessant activity—when we allow ourselves to breath in and out, gently and naturally, and let go of our false sense of superiority and separation. It is only then that we can begin to intuit directly and embody our inter-connectedness, our inter-dependence, our reciprocity and our inter-being with nature. Sitting by a stream, we integrate ourselves into the flow of its waters. We comingle with the plants that are the source of our life-giving breath. We dance in the wind with butterflies who have recently been transformed from caterpillars. We sing with the birds, howl with the wolves, warm ourselves by a campfire whose heat we also produce in our own bellies. When we allow ourselves to rest in the mystery of our shared existence, we begin to touch the essence of our shared being—the creative force that is beyond our ability to conceive or to name. In this joining, we are of one spirit. This is our original state of being. And when we are able to reconnect with it, we are refreshed, enlivened, inspired and rejuvenated. We begin living our lives in harmony with the natural world, without damaging the precious diversity of life and disrupting nature’s finely tuned eco-systems. From that moment on, we cannot see ourselves as morally and intellectually superior, and we realize that we are not entitled to ruthlessly use nature for our selfish, short-term purposes. We begin to temper our actions with the wisdom of our inter-dependence and fulfill our responsibility to care for the natural world from which our own life has sprung. This, then, might be called the Way of Nature. For more on this refer to the book Mandala: Creating an Authentic Spiritual Path.