"I fell in love with nature before I could even remember in my grandparent’s garden."
There I appreciated nature by tasting wild berries or concord grapes dangling from the vine, feeding the koi in the ponds, minding the honeybees while I ran barefoot on the earth. It was a true natural wonder. A remarkable feature of this garden was my Grandfather’s life-sized Buddha statue sitting beneath the evergreens, legs folded, hands in a mudra of contemplation.
I couldn’t say if it was the Buddha’s peacefully closed eyes that inspired me, maybe along with the presence of the songs of birds, or gentle wind on the leaves, but here I was called to pause and watch the branches overhead simple sway back and forth. There, I became immersed in listening and observing nature’s quiet wisdom. Slowly, and without any effort, I was finding a quiet reservoir of stillness within.
I didn’t even know what Zen, the Tao or meditation was. I discovered something unnamed. I was simply being one with nature. Like Mindfulness it is a connection to our senses, but maybe labeling it as Mindfulness or mediation adds a kind of expectation, like we are supposed to reach something. And yet expectations, have no place in nature. She arrives in her own time, in her own way. To be one with nature is to simply be, to soften our knowing to listen. It’s remembering that not only is nature a part of us, but we are a part of her, blossoming, wild, and peaceful.
I stumble into an easily oneness with nature and life from time to time, mostly I am rewarded with this stillness by engaging in a rigorous hiking in a forest or really finding my flow in yoga practice. But recently I have also discovered it can be found in my own garden on an ordinary morning, while I patiently water my seedlings. Visiting them each day, I observe nature’s invitation to be like my Grandfather’s Buddha, quietly present and invoking peace. Nature is calling each of us to be like the seeds waiting for spring, readying to awaken in our own backyard. May you be one with nature.