In the third stage of connecting, we look to re-engage nature in a way that can alter our perceptions of the surface worlds around us. Deepening our perception alters awareness in a way that creates a portal of experiential insight into our inner world. It is through an empathically observant engagement with aspects of the surface world that can offer a hint or taste for the idea of illusory forms and the fundamental divinity within everything. Thus it is critical to more actively re-engage with the world through the prism of 1) relating, 2) re-perceiving, and 3) re-imagining. These are the broad actions that are embraced through mindfulness, love and gratitude.
- Relating refers to respectfully connecting and/or identifying with another being, which in nature could mean a tree, rock, river, animal, or a particular location. Just as you relate to a loved family member, so can you enter into a relational field of being as you connect or identify with a being on some level. Feeling a sense of relatedness with another being, even if momentarily, is the portal to deeper experience of connectedness as well as sense of community and/or belonging to something greater than yourself.
- Re-perceive refers to putting aside the normal mode of surface perceptions and deepening the experience of perception. I do not infer having a super-sense like seeing auras or feeling energies as some fortunate people can. Normal mode means normal state of awareness. Deepening perception simply (but with some difficulty) means altering consciousness using mindfulness, breathwork, heart based reaching out, imaginal capacities and intuition. Present oriented, centred and mindful disposition allows for re-perceiving the world as if for the first time which can lead to new interpretations, insights and experiences. Re-perceiving opens the mind to new and more profound meanings to arise.
- Re-imagining is a process of picturing an alternative expression of being. It really refers to using your imaginal capacities to tap intuitively into another level of reality that lies beyond the five senses. While visualising an aura extending beyond a tree or imagining indigenous peoples inhabiting a place or daydreaming being an eagle soaring in the thermals may not be ‘real’, these imaginal perceptions of reaching out allows you a way to engage and extend your perceptions into otherwise unknown realms. Re-imagining opens up new possibilities for engaging and relating to a place or subject which in turn recalibrates the mind towards higher or deeper aspects of reality
Each nature connection session uses these engagement activities as a way of deepening connection with nature, self and spirit and/or as a way to calm the mind, heal the hurting heart and be filled by the stillness and mystery of nature’s presencing being. Whether the focus is on connecting or healing, each tends to help the other and the end result is the restoration of inner harmony, expansive being and deeper perspectives and meaning. This restoration stage of the connection cycle or spiral is outlined in the next blog.