Out in the wilderness, a condor soars high above treetops. In the city, a condo stands tall and still amidst a grove of evergreen trees. High rises abound in big cities as forest covered hills are cleared for humans to experience what the condor gets every day: magnificent views! Ride the elevator up to the top floor and discover a whole new way of seeing life on earth!
Mindful meditation on a sundeck of a rooftop condo is an experience to behold. No longer at the base of the tree, this new vantage yields breathtaking perspectives! Birds fly towards you and around you at eye level! Their wing span looks much larger than from below and the tree tops are bursting full of unique character. No two are alike! Some are straight as an arrow while others droop softly downwards. Some are densely populated with needles while others are spindly and sparse. Some are narrow and twisty while others plump and perfectly imperfect! Most have foliage but a few have only bare branches. All have different heights and shapes. All sway gently together in the grand refreshing breeze!
Watching the trees dance for a good hour or more can shift perspectives in surprising ways. All of a sudden, these eloquent trees resemble a glorious tribe, dancing together in unison with all members literally rooted together at their foundation. Each one sways joyously next to another as birds sing, call and swoop overhead. Some birds even perch themselves on the very tip of a tree! That’s reason enough to sing out loud and proud!
What if we were to mimic these birds and trees? What if we allowed ourselves to move freely in life … to soar in open air or dance alongside others without any negative energy at all? What would life be like? What would change?
Whatever you choose, whether a bird or a tree, you certainly will be … naturally free!
Waters of the great Pacific Ocean travel in and out of a fish hatchery nestled at the edge of an inlet. Flocks of birds launch and land, sing and swoop, dip their beaks and bodies into the water. Some soar up to the tree tops, screaming their call to others while down below in the water, large salmon float in stillness, holding their bodies against downstream currents. They are returning home during their final stage of life. Their homeland is now covered with golden debris from millions of fallen leaves. Decay and end of life are everywhere even as dead fish can be seen laying sideways, nestled over underwater rocks.
To the observant eye, this is the natural cycle of life. There is no energy of sadness or despair but only acceptance and wonder from many people passing by. Young and old peer over the footbridge railing, looking down into the flowing creek. Some jump down onto the muddy bog that lines the creek to get a closer look. All faces appear neutral, neither solemn or grieving but open and curious. They see what they see.
What if we all approach life in this fashion? Imagine walking the road of life without fear, judgement and emotional reactions. Imagine remaining neutral and 100% present and accepting of life cycles. Then surely the great path of life would be easier. Like the fish, you could rest quietly in the moment and move forward when the time is right. You could continue every step of the way with courage and confidence on your journey back home to the place where you began. The human spirit, like the spirit of fishes, are all derived from the same source. Their home is our home. Their wise lesson for all of us to learn from this is to go against the flow when necessary in order to come home to our own true nature!
Nestled in a neighbourhood of homes with manicured lawns, trees, shrubs and resident selected plants is a plot of wild land. Untouched by man, there is absolutely no evidence of human interventions within this small city block. Only a very natural mix of plant life thrives here without any need for gardeners, sprinklers, landscapers or even the weed man! No specialists at all are needed here as every living thing within this area inherently knows how to thrive!
Trees young and old, broken and flourishing are randomly scattered about. At their base and surrounding them are thriving ferns and myriad mosses, lichens, fungi, ivy and thorny wild bushes. The sky high flourishing trees sway gently with the breeze while smaller plants down below creep merrily across the shaded forest floor. Many of these small plants have emerged from seasonal debris, a soft bed of crumbled tree bark and dead leaves. Age-old tree stumps also provide nutrients for new life, supporting another new generation of it’s kind and even other varieties of trees and plant life. These stumps also provide homes for millions of insects and other tiny forest critters, which surprisingly don’t bug them at all!
It is evident that harmony exists in the wilderness. Life and death co-exist in miraculous ways. The seemingly dead tree stump holds as much life as the forest floor. Appropriately named ‘nurse stumps’, they literally nurse new life even though their own flourishing ended long ago. Interestingly enough, these nurse stumps naturally turned into medicine bowls … the perfect evolution to support continued thriving in the wilderness!
As dusk settles and the sky gradually loses light, mother nature’s visual majesty fades into the darkness. As a dense fog rolls in and blankets the surrounding landscape, trees and mountains disappear into the mist. When dusk and mist are both present, much more is needed than our eyes and mind to decipher what is truly present.
The sound of crashing waves to the west assures a strong and vibrant ocean nearby. A blurry mountainous tree line to the east assures a grand forest flourishing with life. A fine cool mist swirling down from high above assures gentle winds and the scent of ocean life assures many other living species below the earth’s surface.
Strolling barefoot along the beach reveals yet another surprise, enhancing sensory awareness. The soft and luscious fine sand subtly gives way to every footstep, producing an other-worldly experience with a quality and texture uncommon to our paved, shoe-clad world. Like walking on marshmallow soles, the soul gently sinks down with every step merging into the world below. What is present can only be deciphered through intuition and gut feelings. Although the fog greatly limits our view, it most certainly enhances sensory experiences. The fog’s misty presence gifts us with plenty and one of the most glorious is the fine cool shower delicately sprayed upon the skin. Another exquisite gift is the lesson mist has for all humans. This lesson is only to be found in the story of mist or the mist story … aka mystery!
Walking through Central Park in a big city reveals a blend of nature and the modernized world. A mix of man-made trails and structures intermingle with large old growth evergreen trees, berry bushes, ferns, fungi, moss and lakes that cohabit a few square city blocks. Amidst all of this are wild creatures, including scampering squirrels, young and old, brown and grey. It seems they have become very comfortable with humanity as they approach many people passing by in hopes of getting a treat!
Observing the actions of these squirrels reveals both a sense of trust and cautiousness in them. Even though they scurry forward, they are also quick to retreat. All it takes is a gesture from a human like an arm swinging quickly forward and they will bounce back behind a tree or bush. But a slow and subtle gesture like a gentle squat and hand extended softly forth entices many to continue coming forward right up to the hand that has an offering! Whether it be nuts or seeds, the squirrel grabs the treat and withdraws back to chomp, nibble away or even stash it in their secret hiding place!
What makes these wild critters so comfortable with humanity? It seems living in the modernized world has affected them. It seems they have built a sense of trust in the human population and this trust appears to be highly instinctive. Could we humans be as instinctive and trusting of the wilderness as squirrels trusting the civilized world? Although there are endless stories of humans not trusting the wild world, there are also many stories of people who thrive in wilderness, having ventured into it for extended periods of time to experience a subtle connection with all living things, whether they be animals, plants or insects. It is true, there are many commonalities between all living things. You and I and the squirrel, a furry little rodent in the forest share more things in common than we realize. How does that make you feel? Peaceful and at ease or uncomfortable and closed? If the latter, try stretching your mind while contemplating the following:
There is no boundary between all life forms. We share the same air, water and land on this earthly plane. All squirrels breathe the same air we breathe. Together we breathe in the aroma of the magnificent trees and plants around us. Together we can play and respect and appreciate one another. These squirrels have a lesson for all humans in that we are one and the same at a deeper level. Just as they seek survival, so do we! That is the same basic instinct of all living things. So treat yourself to a bowl of nuts and squeak! squeak! in the delight of their flavour and texture. Give thanks to mother earth for all the nourishment she provides all living things!