Monday, September 23, 2013

The Spiritual Inspiration of Nature

"Nature is the prime source of the spiritual life. Block it out, and we obliterate the source of the spirit that our soul's thrive on." -Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life

What is the spiritual life? Beyond the dogma of religion, the essence of spirituality is a feeling of sublime wonder and veneration for the sacred mystery at the heart of all life. It is the recognition that there is more to life than flesh and bone, more to life than merely the material and the utilitarian.

Life, subject to death and destruction, also embodies something else, at its peak, it possesses the purest essence of vitality, health, beauty, strength, harmony.

And so spirituality is not only a recognition of the great paradoxical mystery of life and death, it is also a celebration of the vitality of life at its peak, which is symbolic of all life itself, and tries to nurture this quality, not only in body, but in mind, and spirit. It's like a glimpse of immortality, but there is no immortality in the physical sense, only a long stretch of time, a state of mind, and that too is a mystery, when a second feels like an eternity, and the vitality of life as a reoccurring principle seems as if it exists forever. It is the principle that is eternal, embodied in different forms, but expressing the same eternal truths.

Nature is both ugly and beautiful, a source of pleasure and pain, health and disease, and of life and death, but nature is also written according to the law of harmony. All things follow a natural rhythm, an ebb and flow, of loss and gain, abundance and decline. When life is strong, life is healthy, life is beautiful. When life is weak, life is sickly, life is ugly.

Nature being the source of all of these things, is the primary inspiration. If you wish to nurture within yourself the qualities of beauty, harmony, and vitality, being exposed to, and meditating upon, these qualities reflected in nature will help you do so.

The law of nature is harmony. But there is a difference between the manifestations of humans and the manifestations of nature. Humans are a part of nature, but also may depart from nature's laws at their own peril. Humans may create beautiful, healthy systems in harmony with nature, or they may create ugly unhealthy systems out of harmony with nature.

And because it could go either way, one is more likely to find harmony in nature, than in man-made designs. Which is why keeping nature, reflecting the qualities of beauty, harmony, and vitality, close to our lives, and integrated into our cities, with plenty of flowers and trees and gardens and waterways, such as rivers and fountains and ponds, helps to enrich the quality of our lives, and opens up a door to spiritual inspiration.

But when we chop down all the trees and uproot all the flowers and silence all the birds and drain all the rivers and pave over all of the earth, and all that is left is concrete and plastic and smokestacks and people, buried in and blinded by a synthetic wasteland of cookie cutter homes, prison complex styled apartment housing, strip malls, an endless sea of billboards, commercial advertisements, highway overpasses, fast food franchises, and way too many pollution spewing cars, and all is gray and bleak and illuminated by synthetic lights and glowing television screens, while the silent screams of discontent darken the mind just as the city lights darken the sky, darken the soul, of their sacred star filled, moonlit illumination.

When you cut off the daily presence of nature from your life, and build something else in its place that is totally lacking in beauty and harmony and vitality and natural grace, you cut off the spirit inside, and sever the sacred cord (the sacred chord, the sacred octave) connecting heaven and earth.

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*This is post 13 of 20, part of my 20 Posts in 30 Days challenge.