Thursday, March 09, 2006

Seeking calmness

Here's a description about how being in nature can help us settle our minds. It's another excerpt from Coming to our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn:

No wonder when we seek calmness, so many of us find it in nature. The natural world has no artifice. The tree outside the window, and the birds in it, stand only in the now, remnants of what was once pristine wilderness, which was and is, where it is still protected, timeless on the scale of the human. The natural world always defines now. We instinctively feel a part of nature because our forebears were born of it and into it, and the natural world was the only world, all there was, It offered a multiplicity of experiential dimensions for its inhabitants, all of which needed to be understood to survive, including what they sometimes called the spirit world, or the world of the gods, worlds that could be sensed even though they were usually invisible.

Changing seasons, wind and weather, light and night, mountains, rivers, trees, oceans and ocean currents, fields, plants and animals, wilderness and the wild speak to us even now. They invite us and carry us back into the present that they define and are always in (and we too, except that we forget). They help us to focus and to attend to what is important, remind us, in Mary Oliver's elegantly turned phrase, of "our place in the family of things."

May the arrival of spring help us all remember "our place in the family of things." Last week I saw my first robin and the peach tree in front of my little house is in bloom. Such things are reference points for us as the year turns and progresses. May each of these reference points in nature bring us to true calmness.

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