Connecting with the Natural World
Exercise 1: Feeling
Lie down in the grass.
Close your eyes and try to feel the rhythms of the earth.
Without sight, you must rely on your other senses.
Empty your mind of mundane thoughts and concentrate only on feeling and hearing.
Put your ear to the ground.
Can you hear the movement of insects busy at their work?
If you listen very carefully, the pulsations of the living earth will become very apparent.
Allow them into your body.
Let them become one with your heartbeat until your body no longer feels discrete and separate from the earth.
Remain in this exercise for at least 15 minutes.
This exercise may feel difficult on your first attempts. We have become accustomed to walking on manmade substances, our feet soled and shielded from the earth. We have forgotten the connectedness that out ancestors knew well. Even at your first attempt, however, you will feel something.
Ancestral memory is strong within you if you allow yourself to remember. Oneness with the earth is part of our genetic evolutionary consciousness. It needs only to be aroused. When you are ready to rejoin the everyday world, go to a journal. Write down what you felt and heard. Try to think of all the words you know that will bring your experience to life.
You may find yourself describing feelings as colors, scents, tastes. Your body knows how your senses connect. Allow your unconscious to describe for you. Let the words flow. Trust what is in you - not just what your logical, school-trained brain tells you. The next time you do this exercise and journal a response, read back. See how different your new attempt was from your first. This exercise is not something you will do once. It must be repeated over and over until you really feel the connection again. You will benefit in a lower stress level, a deeper meditation level, a grander understanding of yourself and your place in the scheme of things.
Exercise 2: Hearing
Of all our senses, hearing allows us to go inside most easily. Hearing is not linear like sight; it cannot be shut off by "closing" the ears. Hearing surrounds us. It comes to us in vibrating waves, whether we are conscious of the sound or not. Even in silence, there is sound. Remember the old conundrum: If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there, can it be heard? The logical mind says: "No, hearing is dependent upon the receiving, the presence of ears" but the intuitive mind tells us that, of course, it is heard. Its very vibrations are felt by the trees that surround, and thus, its falling is acknowledged. Hearing is not dependent only upon the ears. Hearing is dependent upon the entire consciousness.
Close your eyes. Listen to the sounds around you. Try to identify their source; as you identify and connect with each sound, let it go and move on to another. Ah, yes, there is a bee buzzing, and in the distance I hear the drone of a machine - two buzzes that merge and dance. The wind rustled the leaves. Do the leaves of the oak sing a different melody from the leaves of the willow?
There is a beautiful old clock in my sunroom. In times of greatest peace, its ticking is the only conscious sound, reassuring and reaffirming that calm center of all things, steady as a heartbeat. with the sunroom windows open, the clock's calls mingle with the natural sounds of the garden and become symphonic. There is wholeness. Hear the clocks in your our life.
After a while, you will find yourself so bathed in sound that the sound itself disappears. At first it will "blank" on and off- you realize that you aren't hearing, and it comes rushing back to you. After a times you will hear nothing.
The true center of sound is SILENCE, something we have very little of in our mundane lives. That point of silence is the very center of your Self.
In winter or inclement weather, this same experience can be done inside. Concentrate on household sounds or listen to music wearing headphones. Try to pinpoint the various instrumental sounds that make up the whole; then let the whole take over. (Do NOT use music with lyrics; words interfere with the source).
If you practice this deep hearing often enough, you will be able to use it at any time. You might be in a crowded grocery or walking down a busy city street, but if you concentrate first on the individual sounds, then the symphony of sounds, you will find yourself being instantly transported to your calm center of silence.
Each time you consciously set out to do this exercise, go to your journal immediately afterward and record your experience "within the sounds of silence" (Simon and Garfunkel)