In the Spring of 1998 I was living in Missouri with my then-wife and step-daughter. We lived as caretakers on a 10 acre property that had a small pond and was thickly wooded in parts. In leisurely moments I enjoyed walking to the pond to commune with nature, to hear the song of birds mingle with the winds and rustling leaves. The view of the open, Midwestern sky made me feel small but integrated integrated into the natural world around me. Nature instills humility without belittling.
When standing by the pond it was the most natural thing to meditate on Creator, the movement of Spirit in nature and in my life, to pray, to reflect on my place in the world, in the universe, in the heart of the Creator.
One afternoon I was walking on the property, my thoughts immersed in the moment. It was an overcast, autumn day. A blustery, cool wind whipped the air into a breezy frenzy. The tall, sand-colored grasses that lined the path to the pond swayed frantically in the excited winds. I stopped and stood still in the midst of the stirring earth.
I stopped to feel…to simply feel the life of that moment.
For no particular reason, yet feeling drawn, I directed my attention to a thick border of trees about 100 feet from where I stood. I gazed at these tall trees whose rustling leaves hissed and crackled in the boisterous winds.
As I stood there watching, listening, feeling, a sudden stillness swept over the entire scene. I was compelled to keep my attention on the trees as everything succumbed to a motionless silence. I remained where I stood without any thought on anything while feeling open and aware of everything.
My attention on the trees did not waver. I felt as if some invisible string tethered my eyes to them. In an instant, with the familiarity and fluidity of a continuum and none of the abruptness of an intrusion or even a sudden introduction, thoughts, sentences, began to stream through my mind. I was not directing these thoughts, only hearing them in my mind.
I discerned where they came from – the trees.
I knew at that moment that the communication was from the trees even as I cannot now explain in rational terms how I knew that. By some intuition, without any astonishment or surprise, I knew that Nature was speaking to me through the Spirit of the trees.
The trees said,
“Look at us. You see walnut trees, maple trees, oak trees. Some are taller, some are wider. We are different from one another yet we do not compete for the sun light. Each of us has its own leaf yet the birds build their nests in all of us equally.”
I remained on the spot, motionless. My gaze remained steady on the trees. I felt myself submerging more deeply into the gravity of the moment. What took place felt natural. It made sense, though not logically. I had just received a revelation through the innate intelligence of the universe on a more ‘mystical’ level than I ever had before, even when I consider the whole and the parts of my experiences; and the moment, the revelation, the experience, seemed no less a part of my Self than if I had received communication from my own vault of memories.
I was alone but did not feel alone, only left alone to reflect on the experience, without thought, yet somehow fully grasping the significance of this event. I felt like my being had merged into an impersonal but familiar and benevolent pool of mystery, like a drop of rain blending into the ocean, yet remaining intact.
The Spirit of the Trees, the Spirit at the heart of all living, spoke.
Maybe it’s more accurate to say that my soul attained to a level of receptivity that allowed me to perceive a truth through the prism of conscious oneness, even if I was not conscious of that oneness as the moment unfolded.
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Nature call to us at all times and in all corners.
Nature whispers her secrets to the listening heart, revealing how loved we are, loved beyond measure, beyond what we imagine, inviting us into loving intimacy with Her through all of Her manifestations – meadows, mountains, skies, deserts, seas, winds.
Nature is more than ecology and biology. It is the intelligent, poetic expression of Spirit. It is life and love expressed as our physical world for the good of all. I owe the greatest debt of gratitude to Nature and to the Spirit of Nature for my well-being.
The science and rhythms of Nature, Her spirit and philosophy, are among the ultimate studies I can pursue. Woven into the tapestry of Her diverse being is the mind and heart, the intelligence and love of Source. The study of Her is essential to the search for truth as She is a systemic revelation of Creator. This includes the study of me and my life – to know myself, and my Self, is to glean from the mysteries of existence, and of Creator.
I now realize, with the clarity and wisdom afforded by this and other experiences, and by hindsight and receptivity, that there is a conscious oneness through being that registers in the journal of the soul of the one who is – and nothing more.
Unity with Creator is synonymous with oneness with the Universe, oneness with Nature. There is no distinction between Creator and creation. In the experience of that moment with the trees I learned what is true for all living things throughout all realms of space and time – at subtler levels of our existence we live in a unified dimension of knowing that does not reduce but supports and nurtures the individual, and necessarily so, in order to facilitate sharing, giving and receiving.
Nature follows the alternating rhythms of giving and receiving while setting in motion expansion and contraction through either permutation. The real truth is there is only one breath, one thought, one feeling that pulses throughout all of life, creating perfect energetic cohesion within and between all living things. We perceive a seeming duality due to the ‘split’ between energy and matter created by our perceiving so.
Yet, as a consequence of this perception, a mutuality results which is, of necessity, a desirable adaptation, or a by-product if you will, of this perception of duality. I do not necessarily subscribe to the idea of a duality so much as I tend to go along with the idea that it is a polarity, i.e., a range of consciousness along a spectrum, similar in principal to the light spectrum. The duality, if you must, or polarity, if I may, allows us to examine life and all of her expressions along a spectrum of perceiving and knowing, thus enabling us to extract knowledge that otherwise remains hidden. It gives range, depth, and texture to our conscious experiences and spiritual evolution. It serves to deepen the soul.
The unifying thought that allows for mutuality is the only truly definitive declaration at the heart of all living, which is ‘I AM’ – the genesis of life, of being, of consciousness, of awareness residing within all things living. This seed thought gives rise to all others. It is the answer to the question – “What am I?” – without demanding a response or even implying that there is an answer because, in truth, being is the answer and, more importantly, the question!
I AM is the creative act that births identity in as many variant forms as can be conceived through the creative, expressive channels of will and choice in answer to the question, ‘Who am I ?’ I AM does so without demanding a reason for being or imposing an answer by virtue of its being. It is and allows to be in order to experience Itself.
The trees personify I AM through apparent stillness and obvious beauty and function. Yet, the revelation I received from them, and through them, tells me they are active in ways beyond their growth cycles and seasonal changes.
They think. They feel. They give. They receive. They speak. They listen.
And in an intimate moment of subtle, silent being they gifted me with a new vision of their world and their way.