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Make A Date With Nature And Discover Your True Self

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Make A Date With Nature And Discover Your True Self

Spending time in nature puts you in touch with who you really are
Tenzin Wangyal  Rinpoche
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche More by this author
Jul 09, 2015 at 07:00 AM

Experiencing the natural world as sacred is a source of nourishment for the soul. Connecting with the elements and retrieving one’s soul in this way is an honored approach in Bön. When the sacred relationship with nature is cultivated, true healing is supported. 

What is a sacred relationship with nature? I define as sacred anything that brings you closer to yourself, to recognizing the truth of who you are.

Imagine two people who visit the mountains for very different reasons. One is a shaman, the other a mountain climber. The shaman approaches the mountain to consciously weaken his ego and strengthen his connection with his inner wisdom. The athlete approaches the mountain as a challenge to conquer. While the mountaineer may be immersed in nature and feel excited and stimulated as he climbs, in relishing achievement he unconsciously feeds his ego. By experiencing his worth as something that can be measured and attained, he is disconnecting from himself. His relationship with nature is not a sacred one.

You can experience nature as a teacher constantly transmitting knowledge and wisdom to you, or simply as a place to engage your ego. When you enter into a sacred relationship with nature, qualities of the elements awaken within you, and you discover and connect with your genuine self.

Traditionally, the ancient practice of soul retrieval involves cultivating a sacred relationship with the spirits of nature. The idea of nature spirits may not fully resonate with you, but knowledge of this perspective can help to increase your understanding and motivation for change, because it enters you into a relationship with the natural world that is dynamic and alive.

Like many indigenous cultures, the Tibetans consider the forces of nature to be alive with unseen beings. To Tibetans, cultivating a relationship with the spirit of a tree or rock or stream is no less important than honoring human relationships. When you connect with the liveliness in nature, you are not lonely. Relaxing in front of a fire and feeling its warmth, you become aware of the spirit of the fire. Sitting by a river, you can form a relationship with the water spirits. Developing a deeper level of closeness, communication, and respect for an element and its spirit helps you awaken the essence of that element within you.

Making a Date with the Elements

A friend of mine, feeling old and sick, made a point upon arising each morning to sit on her porch and look at the sky and listen to the birds. This simple addition to her morning routine made the rest of her day go more smoothly. It left her feeling more open. On the mornings she didn’t do it, she could feel the difference.

Being with the sky didn’t involve any complicated meditation postures, visualizations, or mantras, yet it awakened the healing qualities of her inner spaciousness. In a direct way, this illustrates the way nature can nourish us.

Making a special date with the elements is something anyone can do, yet few people think of doing it. It is a matter of finding the time and place to be with the elements and feel their liveliness. When making a date with nature, you can be assured that unlike some of your friends and relatives, nature will not judge you, try to convince you of anything, or expect anything of you.

To make the connection, all that is required of you is to be still within yourself, silence your internal chatter, and open your heart. If you can rest in stillness, silence, and spaciousness, you will be open to receiving what nature has to offer. If you have been feeling that your problems are solid and overwhelming, go to a place where the space element is evident. This might be a mountain overlook, a broad field, or a tall building with a window view.

Choose a day when the sky is clear and a time when the sun is not directly in your eyes. When you can connect long enough, gazing at a clear sky can open your heart and mind, and awaken an experience of inner spaciousness. It can bring you home to who you are, to the true nature of your mind.

By the end of your session with the space element, all the challenges that have been weighing on you may seem lighter. You may feel better able to accommodate whatever arises in your life. So, just as my friend did, consider spending quality time with the space element in a place where the sky is open and clear. Whether you travel to an open area or simply look out your window, use the time to connect with and nurture a feeling of openness.

About Author
Tenzin Wangyal  Rinpoche
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is an acclaimed author and highly respected teacher to students around the world. He is renowned for his depth of wisdom; his clear, engaging teaching style; and his ability to make ancient Tibetan teachings highly accessible Continue reading