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FEATURE - April 2016
The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Earth Day
By Sami Aaron
“Beauty Raises Our Energy…When we become aware of the unique and beautiful qualities of nature…we have, in effect, raised our vibration on the continuum of consciousness.” James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy: An Experiential Guide
If you take time to reflect deeply, you know that the most important truths come directly from the heart.
As springtime wakes up around you this year and you begin to see announcements for upcoming Earth Day events, ask yourself what the concept of “Earth Day” really means to you, to your own heart. In fact, what does it mean to all of us—to all living beings on this glorious planet?
This year, intentionally make time to step away from your everyday activities and go outside to be in nature.
Find some place that is especially attractive to you—meander through the woods, nap by your favorite tree or shrub, or meditate by a lake or pond or unusual rock. And then immerse yourself into the deep essence of your surroundings while you soften and expand your five senses:
Using your sense of sight, notice the colors, shadows, forms, shapes, and dimensions of objects all around you.
Touch something nearby—a branch or blossom or the soil—and notice the textures and gradients of its surfaces against your skin.
Inhale its fragrance while you tap into its heady sense of earthiness.
Imagine that you could taste the item you touched and ask yourself, what would its texture feel like on your tongue? What might its flavor be?
Expand your sense of hearing—what sounds are near you? Which are far away? Which noises give you an awareness of movement or motion?
Our 54 Remarkable Senses
Then expand your awareness to encompass the area around you and as you take a deep, settling, cleansing breath, begin to magnify those five senses into all of your 54 Senses!
According to research in the field of Ecopsychology, and outlined in her books The Nature Process and 54 Days: 54 Senses, Transpersonal Ecopsychologist Tabitha Jayne explains that we humans have no fewer than 54 distinct senses that range from chemical, electromagnetic, light, and polarization to senses of community and love and interconnected spirit.
We are all born with these 54 remarkable senses available to us, but we learn to close them (or at the very least, ignore them) as we develop into “civilized” human beings.
Internationally revered herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner, in his book, Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm, explains that “…the habitual narrowing of sensory-gating channels that most of us experience…[allows us to] only perceive a very small part of the world around us. Only a tiny bit of the radiance of the world can shine in through the narrow aperture that is left.”
Yet developing the ability to enhance and expand Buhner’s “doors of perception” gives us the opportunity to also expand our neural networks for what Buhner calls “the feeling sense…the heart-field perception”. This heart-field perception, explored in more depth in his book, The Secret Teachings of Plants, is our primary cognitive approach to the world. “The more sensitivity we cultivate to sensory flows, the more directly we perceive with our senses and the wider the door opens.”
Our Intrinsic Nature
If you pause to think about it, we are, after all, as much pure animal as the next mammal is—so our intrinsic nature is to be in direct connection to the natural world around us. We humans also have the sense of need for sunlight and the healing release we crave as we rest in the shelter of a beloved old tree.
We have the ability to orient ourselves according to our awareness of place and location, to be cognizant of the time and temperature and season and humidity and wind. We were designed with all these innate tools to help us feel safe, confident, and at home on this planet.
As Buhner explains, “to use your senses most productively, you must go out from the cities…you must find a place where Nature is not buried under concrete and asphalt…Sensing takes the place of thinking...consciousness begins to move out of the brain, leaving the analytical mind behind. You begin to find the world that our ancient ancestors knew so well.”
When we witness or experience addiction, hoarding, self-harm, depression, and violence, we are witnessing a human who has lost this connection to their true nature—a soul whose senses have been battered and bolted shut so that there is no peace in belonging, no sure-footedness on the soils of our earth.
So this Earth Day, if you truly want to honor the earth, do so from the inside—reconnect to it in each moment, with every breath, every sight and smell and sound and taste and touch—and then notice how it makes you feel.
As you set your Earth Day resolution to plant trees, restore native gardens, recycle more, and consume less, commit to taking time every single day to come into the natural presence that you always have available, through all your senses, and reconnect to your own true Earth Self.
Buhner’s advice? “Take a walk some place wild, where the civilized do not go.”
Welcome yourself home with a deep remembrance of your very essence.
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Meditation teacher Sami Aaron is a Kansas Master Naturalist and Master Trainer/Certified
Facilitator of The Nature Process®. She leads workshops and retreats in The Nature
Process via www.BeingOntoSomething.org
Her company, BeingOntoSomething LLC, is a
member of 1% for the Planet: using business as the engine of positive environmental change.