We just passed the longest day of the year and are now into summer. Happy Solstice! In my Santa Fe yard the Rocky Mountain penstemon (Penstemon strictus) of late spring is giving way to the firewheel (Gaillardia aristata) of summertime. Pine tree tips hang thick with pollen.
Summer is a great time for going on adventures in nature—communing with forest or seashore, hiking or camping or kayaking. Yet while most of us enjoy nature, it’s all too common to experience our spiritual lives as rather different from relaxing in nature. As if nature is one thing and spirit is something else. Or as if the visible world is over here, the invisible world is over there, and never the twain shall meet.
In nature spirituality, it’s all the same Great Nature
A path of nature spirituality (or a shamanic path) brings these sometimes separated parts of life together. Nature and Source can be experienced as one. While the Great Mystery (or Great Nature or Living Spirit or Source) is invisible—greater than and beyond the physical world—one gets to know it by watching and listening to the physical world, to nature. And the bird, animal, rock, water, fire, or other part of nature we meet as a Helper during a meditative journey is like the ordinary being we encounter in nature, but more so. The spirit bear or tanager or flower is recognizable as itself, bringing all the wisdom of its particular species, but because it is appearing in spirit, it may do things that the everyday bears or tanagers or flowers can’t do.
My primary Helper, Bear, in a meditative journey recently shared about this: “Going into physical nature and communing with a tree or going on a spirit-journey and communing with a tree in spirit”—Bear waved a paw—“it’s all the same thing.” Great Nature is the one reality we meet, both in the sensory world of nature and on a meditative journey. It’s all about relationship, getting to know nature in one form or another. The same Source comes to support us through both visible and invisible means.
Walking with Helpers
Who are the Helpers? They are the unseen, or spirit, forms of the creatures we glimpse in the woods or land or river. Helpers convey the tremendous wisdom and love of the Source, the Living Spirit. They walk with people as unseen friends.
Think of your closest friend, available at a moment’s notice by tapping a few keys. Now imagine you didn’t need to use the phone, and instead of signing off at night, your friend was available 24/7 with unfailing caring and support. And then suppose that your friend knew you perfectly, wanted only what is best for you, and always helped you see a bigger picture.
Finding a friend like this is life changing. Touching such caring gives people a different stance in life. My partner, Tim, will tell you that I’m happier and more peaceful since I got to know my Helper.
Finding your Helper
How do you find your Helper? It means taking time for reflection, time for being with the quiet of your heart. Spiritual or shamanic journeys are best for this—going into quiet meditation and tracking images or feelings as they arise. Once you have met your Helper, simply spending time with them on a regular basis in meditative journeys brings about a rich and joyous experience of living. (If you would like help in finding and developing a relationship with your Helper, I am available to provide support. Feel free to contact me using the contact form in the sidebar.)
“Great Nature has another thing to do / To you and me,” wrote the poet Theodore Roethke, “so take the lively air, / And, lovely, learn by going where to go.”
Here’s to learning by going!
Wishing you many summer adventures in Great Nature.