"Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process, heal our own."
- Wangari Maathai

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The tree which moves some to tears of joy..

I have been pondering on some lines from William Blake that I find very powerful and relevant at this time:

The tree which moves some to tears of
joy is in the eyes of others
only a green thing that stands in the way
- William Blake, The Letters

The question is, why do some people get moved to tears of joy by a tree and others regard it as an inconvenience?  Finding the answer to this 'why' is to seek true understanding.  True understanding is the only way a genuine meeting of minds and hearts is possible.  Without a deep understanding of both points of view, there can be nothing but polarisation.  Polarisation results in animosity and antipathy.  After that comes the worst 'a' word yet; the wish to annihilate each other. 

Firstly, my point of view is the former i.e. I get moved to tears of joy by a tree, so I see the world through those eyes.  I did not understand why I saw the world that way - I just did and I felt I was right.  From this stance I have spent many years in angry judgment of everyone else who did not see the world as I did. Thinking about it now, I probably terrified the living daylights out of everyone! 

The truth is, unless someone has a recognizable connection experience with nature or, in many cases of modern society a recognizable reconnection experience with nature,  they will remain polarised against her and will never get moved to tears of joy by a tree.

Humans are all deeply rooted in Nature.  Nature embraces all of us (whether we recognize it or not) ALL THE TIME.  Just try and stop breathing and see what happens.  MJ Cohen, founder of EcoPsychology has a wonderful exercise to demonstrate this - try this for yourself:  http://www.ecopsch.com/trailattract.html

Nature speaks for herself.  There are hardened loggers who chopped down ancient forests for years who suddenly, one day, turn into the ancient forests' most ardent protectors.  History is full of occurrences where so called 'sinners' suddenly turned into 'saints'. When Nature speaks to you, you are irrevocably changed.

This is my recognizable reconnection experience that changed my life.

In 1982 I was spending a few days at a retreat centre near the Magaliesberg for some silent, solitary contemplation.  The struggle to find inner solitude and silence against the backdrop of my own mental noise was gargantuan.  After the second day, things were not going as planned; instead of being rejuvenated, I was exhausted.  Feeling very dejected, I went for a walk up a hill behind the cottage where I was staying and sat down on a rock.  A bird alighted on a small tree next to me and stared at me with its bright eyes.  Immediately, my mind sprang into action, bringing up all the identification markers so that I could name it, categorize it. 

As I observed my automatic mental response, silence engulfed me.  It was much more than a 'felt' instruction of 'stop naming'; it was a state of being that overwhelmed me with such an intense sense of 'beingness' that I was unable to move, let alone think or 'label'.  I could feel life humming in everything and I was included in everything.  Language disappeared; there was only silence and an expansive feeling of immense joy.  This experience changed my life.

Has anyone else had a 'reconnecting' experience?  Please share it on this blog. 

Diana Elsmere