Spirit in Nature

KATIESalgae leavesJPEG

Katie Hilbert 14 June 2018

Connection is a feeling. This is an invitation to open up to feeling spirit in nature through visualization of your place within the matrixes of non-human nature. When we actively place ourselves within these networks we can begin to feel a part of the complexity and beauty that surrounds us and feel a connection to the spirit within it all.

As humans, one of our most direct ways of knowing is through feeling. Our lasting memories and most impactful experiences are those with feeling attached to them. How are we to know spirit is present until we feel it? Simply knowing cognitively is not always enough for me to believe nor to gain deep insight from. Until we feel something in our bodies, likened to an emotional or physical reaction, how are we to know something is real considering it can not easily be seen with our eyes? With spirit, as with many unseen truths in life, feeling is believing.

Viewing spirit as a web, like the web of life, we can compare it to the other scientifically classified earth systems, similar in form to the hydrologic system, or the flow of nutrients, or air in all environments. Each element is in continuous flux. There is no area unaffected or unexposed to the influence of each element. Unifying science and spirituality, we ask: Why wouldn’t the presence of spirit be available, exchangeable, and flowing just as the earthly networks of all elements are? Should we add spirit to the list of free flowing earthly systems?

Through visualization we can begin to feel a part of the complex systems that surround us by opening up to our place within the matrixes of the living and elemental non-human nature and actively placing ourselves within these networks. Visualization activates the same emotional responses in our brains as the act, person, or image we chose to visualize does in person or in real life. Therefore, when we visualize ourselves as a part of these earthly systems we feel a part of them, we feel connected to them and the spirit of nature that is contained within it all. Visualization is a powerful tool to help us practice feeling connection to the web of spirit. When we feel connected we feel supported enough to relax and listen to ourselves and any messages we gain through what we have felt, the felt experience. Connection to everything is possible and absolutely relevant through feeling, even to spirit.

As with any relationship, it’s built with time, consistency, and regular attempts for connection. Some meetings are profound, while most are simply familiar or even mundane. It’s lovely because it can be done anywhere but would make a perfect sit spot practice. You don’t have to be in the wilderness to practice or to feel connection to the spirit in ‘’nature’’. You’re always there.

Life is rich with meaning and felt spirit. I would love to tell you what I’ve felt physically, emotionally and spiritually but it is yours to create: your own relationship to nature and spirituality. I’m thankful for the supportive environment I have come to know and I’m confident that even through rough patches the spirit of the earth supports my own because I’ve felt it do so.

Place Scan

(‘Place Scan’ activity, pg 36, Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide, Andrea Olsen)

20 minutes

Seated or lying in a comfortable position, eyes open:

 

  • Bring your attention to soil and rock. Where is the soil in this room or place? Use what you can see and what you know, engaging extended proprioception. If you are indoors, take time to consider the possibilities within this place and nearby, considering metals, glass, sand, and rock. Be sure to include your own body and other humans.
  • Bring your attention to air. Where is air in this room or place? What can you smell, taste, feel, hear, or see concerning air? Remember, the air is a medium of travel for birds, insects, the spores of plants, chemicals, sound waves, light waves, and humans. Consider what is happening with the seasons and with the sun and moon. Bring your attention to any aspect of air you can perceive at this moment in time, in this unique place and season.
  • Bring your attention to water. Where is there water in this room or place? Consider what’s happening with the water cycle, the water table, in the watershed for your region. Remember your body is mostly water.
  • Bring your attention to animals. Where are animals in the place? Notice the season, the effect on animals, the food you have eaten being digested in your stomach, insects and tiny microorganisms.
  • Bring your attention to plants. Where are plants visible in this room or place? Even if there are no plants in sight, the floors may be wood, plants are being digested in your stomach; we wear plant fibers. Notice or imagine trees, grass, and plants of the season contributing to the oxygen sustaining your life.
  • Pause in open attention. Try scanning eyes closed, with senses heightened.