The Elders of the forest tradition tell us to spend time in the natural world. We begin to transform our spirit each time we go for a walk and smell the bay laurel after the rain, each time we pause to admire the quince in spring, the fire maple in autumn, today’s certain shade of rose at twilight, the budding lily on our neighbor’s porch, the last rustle of small animals into the astonishing silence at nightfall in the mountains. We renew our spiritual life each time we walk back into the wilderness of our world and sense the beauty that has given us birth and the untameable cycles vaster than all our plans. In this way, our care for the nonhuman world can grow, not out of duty but out of love, out of gratitude and reverence for the web of creation, an unceasing holiness. Tending this earth, we become part of its awakening. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, ‘To appreciate beauty and find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, a redeemed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.’ Caring for the natural world is one way we also tend to the human one. With a consciousness not restricted to our single human life, our breath can move easily, our heart can hold compassion for all living beings…..Jack Kornfield
spiritual concepts, truths, and practices easily become abstract in the maelstrom of ‘real life’…..yet the divine finds us….we are illuminated from the inside out when we step aside the dogma and the shoulds and the expectations of our true nature…..but God knows us….because God is not as we define ‘him’…..
The physicist David Bohm, in discussing the prevalence of fragmentation on the level of the individual, of the group, and of society, points to the ‘rather interesting sort of irony that fragmentation seems to be the one thing in our way of life which is universal, which works through the whole without boundary or limit.’ Bohm goes on to make the important point that in considering the transformation of fragmentation, we are not talking about wholeness as some sort of remote ideal. Rather, wholeness is the original fact, which we want to reestablish. ‘Wholeness is what is real, and fragmentation is the response of this whole to man’s action, guided by illusory perception, shaped by fragmentary thought.’ We need to become aware of our fragmented consciousness, to pay attention to our fragmented way of thinking and understanding reality. We need to learn to ‘view the ten thousand things in their oneness.’……Ralph Metzner
Over and over, the mystical teachings tell us that we cannot know the truth intellectually, but we can be it. Experiential as opposed to conceptual, esoteric spirituality has been compared to falling in love- something else that’s impossible to adequately express in words. It is a matter of union with what is- with what we are in the deepest sense. In contrast to the exclusivity associated with worship in different exoteric faiths, esoteric spirituality consistently draws us back to the inherent wholeness of all that is. Judgment, good and evil, heaven and hell, and the myriad distinctions that make up our conventional worldview fall away when we realize what is. It comes with the shift from figure to ground. Only when our focus shifts from the external trappings of spirituality can we discern the ground of our being……John Greer