Way #27: Listen. Notice.
The earth is a living thing. Mountains speak, trees sing, lakes can think, pebbles have a soul, rocks have power.
– Henry Crow Dog
Walk away from your computer.
Leave your home or office.
If you can, find a spot near you where the Earth is alive. A garden, forest, pond, river, or even the front lawn. (In a pinch, just go outside on your balcony or look out up at the sky from your window.) Choose a small section of that spot, say a three foot diameter circle. Set aside 15 minutes to sit in silence, simply becoming aware of the natural world around you as deeply as you can.
Don’t try analyzing, don’t think about saving anything. Just be there and listen and notice. After a few moments, check to see if your mind is thinking about it, as an object. If so, experiment with whether it is possible to simply “be” in this natural environment and feel a part of it.
Why Do This Way?
A purely conceptual or intellectual relationship to Earth and to global warming really isn’t sufficient to the task at hand. In order to generate the level of commitment, passion, and drive needed to address the environmental challenges facing our world—and to stay the course over time—it helps to have a direct experience of our relationship with that world. But you probably already knew that. Today’s Way is to remind you to always make time for this relationship with your mother—Earth.
Engaging with This Way
Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.
– Rachel Carson
- Revisit your sacred 'sit' spot in nature near your home once a week for the rest of the year and notice how it changes—and how you do—over the next few months.
- Build a nature-inspired altar or shrine in or around your house with materials you collect from nature that seem to be “calling out” to you. (Please be careful and mindful with what you borrow from nature!) Dedicate it to the season, and change it each season to keep it fresh and keep you in sync with the natural rhythms.
- Can’t make it outside for some time in nature today? Around the world photographers take stunning photographs of nature. Here are a few examples to remind you, to remind all of us, of the stunning and incomparable beauty of nature.
What are you discovering about your relationship with Earth?