Nature as a Place to Experience Sacredness.
To begin this section is a poem that speaks to the Exquisiteness found just in trees:
Beams Of Our Natural Sanctuary
Oh, hallowed trees, too often your existence goes unappreciated.
You provide natural color, design, and character.
You are the beams of nature’s sanctuary.
What would life be without your delicate leaves, and
Intriguing branches, and stalwart trunks?
If we listen, you can sway us to deeper understanding.
If we observe you image every mood.
Time itself is ringed on you,
and hundredfold years are recorded in your shapes.
Humans take from you to make build and burn.
Each chop and breakdown of your fibers is a death unheralded.
Each fire is a sacrifice gone on honored.
As wisest sages you quietly stand before us.
Your wisdom is exemplified in your ever yielding and bending,
while remaining rooted in growth.
Like children we take from a limited perspective.
You have so much more to offer than that taken.
Bless the trees, for they are providers and teachers,
abused and neglected by too many people.
But what of the interaction between human and tree?
What is given to us in provision and wisdom,
can be returned in love.
We humans do not realize the tremendously unique quality.
Of being able to love and appreciate.
People ridicule those who might hug a tree.
Let them also find a way to live that love.
July, 1973 copyright Contemplative Life Foundation
Genetic Memory and the Experience of Sacredness in Nature
Nature, with its harmony of ecosystems, and the biodiversity, all combine to provide intriguing, fascinating, and beautiful places to “get away” from often cramped and congested urban, and even suburban areas. Often, in the natural areas there is also a quiet that helps relieve the amount of stress and cacophony of thoughts. Perhaps even more paramount is that the sense of sacredness that can be found in nature comes from the ages when there was such a greater direct dependency on nature providing all that was needed to survive. History and archeology point to a sacredness that humans developed for nature.
Stored in what is termed as genetic memories is this close affiliation with nature. The memories are gone but the sense of close relationship remains. Humans celebrated, and held a feeling of sacredness for, what nature provided. For so many even now, nature “feeds their spirit,” and they still feel the sacredness with/in nature.
Even now, the most expensive real estate is linked to being closest to scenic views overlooking parks, the ocean, etc. Though unspoken people still feel a need to have nature’s beauty in their lives. Also unspoken perhaps is that the exquisite feelings that emerge in beautiful natural environments provide a sense of sacredness that generates from the times when nature was held as sacred.
Nature as an Expression of Sacredness in itself
Mahatma Gandhi was quoted as saying: “When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the creator.” Creation is not a random fluke, scientists have found undeniable evidence of the order and intricate relationships. For so many nature in itself holds a sense of the Sacred. And, many seek to go deeper into natural areas, (“back country” being one term used) to seek deeper experiences of this Sacredness. Granted, nature can be very dangerous and individuals must both respect and prepare for this. With this, like Gandhi, individuals find in undisturbed nature experiences of Sacredness that is beyond any human creation or human creator.
To end this section is another poem that may help in understanding how nature can inspire Experiences of Sacredness:
Birth Of Day, Light
As an expectant mother, one waits for the birth,
anxious and hopeful for the freshness possible in new life.
As birth comes, one feels a part of the natural phenomenon.
But, all the while, with the realization of not being in its cause.
Imperceptibly, almost magically, nature “gives birth to a new day,
From darkness to lightness in a seamless change.
Within that short period all life has changed.
With birth, colors and spectacular sights are unveiled.
It shall be so named “DayLight.”
And having been part of the birth,
One feels closer to Day’s existence.
Pheo Rose,1971 copyright Contemplative Life Foundation