All day long and all night, our mind is busy with thoughts, plans, desires and memories. We are so engrossed in these thoughts that we begin to identify with them. To connect to our deeper Self, our true nature, we must still the mind and free ourselves from its busyness. Only when the mind calms down and becomes like a clear, still lake, can we tap our essential nature and realise who we truly are. For me, the surest way to still the mind is through meditation; not casual or brief meditation, but long, deep meditation. One must give the mind time to release itself. But there are other ways to access this stillness. Nature is also a doorway to the Self. Sitting by a river, gazing up at a sacred mountain, walking with the beings of the trees, these are also ways to put aside the mind and be in our essential nature. We then realise they are no different from us, and we are no different from them. We are all expressions of the one consciousness. How do you feel and live your connection to the earth? I am a river girl and so the surest way for me to feel oneness with nature is to sit by a river and listen to her quiet wisdom. Rivers speak to us, often guiding us and helping us find solutions to our problems. But they speak from inside and so one must be very quiet and receptive to hear. I also love to stand or walk barefoot on the earth and to feel her healing currents pass through my body. I love to feel the strength of mountains and breathe in deeply, the fresh, forest air. Trees and all plant life give us the air we need, and we give them the air they need. This life-giving exchange bonds us to them and so we must make time to honour tree and plant beings. We deprive ourselves when we fail to connect deeply with the earth and all her wonderful expressions. So for me, it is taking time to love and honour all that earth is. How can we create or reimagine a more compassionate world from within the current structures? The structures must begin to change because they were born of an earlier, less conscious era, and we have moved on from that time. But change can come gradually and so we slowly have to insert more caring into the way our society is organised. To bring about change, we have to look into the causes of the current dysfunction. We must look into why we, as a society, are so unhealthy, why people don’t have satisfying jobs, decent places to live, why there is so much unhappiness. We will find that one answer that comes up again and again is that we have divorced ourselves from the earth, from nature.
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