“… unlike her, the clouds seemed to know what they were doing and why, and the wind knew, and the grass knew. The entire world was alive and conscious.”

 

Philip Pullman

 


Nature

It is often such a relief for me to be in a place without written words or neon signs that attract my attention, without sounds of engines or music or chatter, without asphalt and concrete and bricks, without clock time… it is there that I experience most strongly that I am part of a vast web of life, part of a collective heartbeat. That there is no separation, only different forms of manifestation. Nature for me is a source both of deep nourishment, and of learning.

Everything to me seems imbued with a spark of consciousness, with spirit, with life-force and vitality. I like to call it immanence, a (divine) presence in everything we see around us. It is sometimes also called animism, pantheism or panpsychism.

Not that nature is only ‘benevolent’ or ‘beautiful’. One of my most profound lessons was during a stormy, rainy, windy, cold night, alone in a stone circle up on the Orkney Islands. The forces of danger, death and destruction communicated with me. Paradoxically, that created a sense of deep connection, a recognition of the vulnerability and preciousness of life.

Nature teaches us about cycles, of day and night, of the seasons, of birth, growth, fruition, decay, death and rebirth. Our culture in general emphasises linear ways of thinking. At times that can be quite exciting, up and up and up… But I often find I cannot keep pace with that. Then I remember that the moon isn’t always full either…