Finding The Way Back Home

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Image by Alfredo Sanchez

“I found that the power of the landscape, the presence of the animals and the dynamic flow of living energy through the wild were working on me inwardly. They were calling back aspects of my own being that I had long neglected or forgotten and driving me to explore the inner realities in ways I had not dared to do before. And this was drawing me into the deep current that has run through many human cultures for tens of thousands of years — the natural connection between the animals, the rhythms and cycles of the Earth and the waking of the soul within each person.

The idea that finding inner relationship with the animals and the elemental life of nature can help us to open up the deeper levels of awareness that usually remain dormant in everyday life, has become foreign in the West.
. . .
We often associate the word “mystical”with something vague and uncertain, with cloudy intimations that dissolve in the common light of the everyday. I can only say, in all honesty: that has not been my own experience. The reality of a greater dimension to life rose up, as immediate, immense and unmistakable as the rising of the whale and the pungent breath of its life from the deep…

I began to realize consciously that my life, like that of so many others, was founded on the sense of separation from the rest of life, that it was full of the fear and loneliness, the loss and dislocation which that separation engenders. And so I swung between different states — between the intense joy of inner expansion and turbulent upwellings of the emotional pain which few people on this Earth will not experience. — Eleanor O’Hanlon

Humans are a breed of animal life that has lost its connection with the teeming creation that birthed it. Finding our way back to our spiritual connection to the Earth means affirming our animal sensibilities. Somehow we got the idea that suppressing our animal nature would lead to enlightenment. Our religion is founded on the idea that our animality is sinful. When we downgrade our instinctive nature we downgrade the natural world. We become capable of destroying it.

That’s where we are now, but our destruction of nature will in turn destroy us and everything we’ve built.

How can we find a way forward, incorporating our vaunted reason and logic into a deeper awareness of what we are and what the world is? The requisite understanding exists, if we can hear it. There are peoples who have lived in consort with nature for thousands of years. They know things. They have information we don’t suspect and, given our mindset, can’t find.

We still have to discover where we fit in the family of beings. We need to rediscover how we are connected to the web of life. We need to heal from our separateness, which is a deep wound that is maintained by how we think and live.

We have an opportunity now in the form of a virus that has shuttered our frantic lifestyle for a while. No doubt we’ll wriggle out of this self-created trap only to leap into the next one. Who knows how long it will take for us to learn the lesson. Who knows how many people will have to die. Humans learn slowly when what’s required is self reflection.

We have perpetrated a massive die off in the natural world, creating moonscapes and toxic wastelands in the process. Now the process circles around to us. We are shocked that we are no longer exempt. The idea abroad that we are destroying nature has now become up close and personal.

The natural world can only be abused so long. In our hubris we think we can subdue it regardless of the challenge.

One of our lessons will be humility.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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