Connecting to Nature
You can increase your Laughing Heart power directly by connecting to nature. This is because qi or nature’s life force is everywhere. And it is free and unlimited! All you need to do is learn how to open the gates and balance your qi.
Try this simple exercise:
Simply take some time off, each day, whenever the spirit moves you, to find a beautiful, peaceful, or awe inspiring place where you are surrounded by the natural world – the dawn, a sunset, a grove of trees, a quiet walk, a tranquil place in the mountains, by a stream, or the seaside before the tourists come.
Open your heart and just the let the beauty of nature flow into you. Simply pay attention and see if you can differentiate this unique experience from any other you have ever had. It is a gift.
A discovery question:
Is not your inner nature and the beauty of ‘external’ nature essentially one and the same? (1)
And what might be the link between vitality, beauty, and the power of sound? Read on to the next move “Harvesting the Creative Genius in Music.”
Emotive Reaction Range? Hints: Awe, wonder, humility, mystery, grandeur, connectedness, bliss, overwhelmed, promethean, nourishing, dazzling, healing
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The first morning of the world. On the right the great expanse of the Santa Barbara Bay before me and on my left as I cycle by, the Ty Warner Estate. I am grateful to him for creating this path and making it available to the public. I am reminded of the words of the Benedictine Brother David Steindl Rast. “This moment is a gift; it is given to you, uniquely here and now, and never again.”
It is 7:30 a.m. and few hikers and an occasional biker interrupt the silence of red bougainvillea, yellow lantana, aloe, ceanothus, and the scent of jasmine. My earlier cares slip away like uncomfortable dreams from a foreign place. I head downward toward Butterfly Beach. (I love the name.)The air is pure, the sky is innocent in its original hue, as if its painter had just conceived it and had not quite decided to embellish its perfection. I head toward the Coral Casino and cycle back to look for my friend, but she is down-beach practicing her dance. Then I have the first glimpse of the spume, about half a mile away. I am not quite sure at first, simply a wave I suppose or perhaps a solo dolphin. Then suddenly a spout, and then another (I can’t quite predict it, but I know it will come). The creature emerges from its element in sea-green foam rolling over in a perfect harmony with the gentle waves. I watch transfixed.
For a while the spouts continue in their special rhythm, far away; then they stop; and nothing besides the sound of waves remains. Morning strollers with their dogs pass by mildly curious about what I’m staring at, generally oblivious to the miracle unfolding offshore. But suddenly another spout about 100 yards from the Casino, and the great whale surfaces again and this time approaches curious to observe us humans at play. “There is a flock of them down by the pier” a young man observes standing by me. “I am getting married today,” he continues, “I take it as a favorable sign.” “I wish you much happiness” I say to him and really mean it. I look up to see a pale moon peeping down. I fancy the moon also wishes him well.
I cycle home and on the path I meet an elderly lady on her way to the beach. “A whale!” I announce. “I know, I know!” she says excitedly, “I saw them earlier by the wharf, and I have come back to see them again. It makes me almost fall over backwards,” she teeters in her joy and in that moment catches her balance.
John Muir expressed his connection to Nature in 1901 this way:
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
“At sunset of the third day, near the village of Igendja, we moved along an island set in the middle of the wide river. On a sandbank to our left, four hippopotamuses and their young plodded along in our same direction. Just then, in my great tiredness and discouragement, the phrase, Reverence for Life, struck me like a flash. As far as I knew, it was a phrase I had never heard nor ever read. I realized at once that it carried within itself the solution to the problem that had been torturing me. Now I knew that a system of values which concerns itself only with our relationship to other people is incomplete and therefore lacking in power for good. Only by means of reverence for life can we establish a spiritual and humane relationship with both people and all living creatures within our reach. Only in this fashion can we avoid harming others, and, within the limits our capacity, go to their aid whenever they need us.”
Other Quotes by Albert Schweitzer
“The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo…We need a boundless ethic which will include the animal also.”
“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.”
Animal Rights: A History Albert Schweitzer
“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
“The human spirit is not dead. It lives on in secret…. It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.”
“A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as well as that of his fellowman, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.”
“It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed. It was once considered foolish to suppose that black men were really human beings and ought to be treated as such. What was once foolish has now become a recognized truth. Today it is considered as exaggeration to proclaim constant respect for every form of life as being the serious demand of a rational ethic. But the time is coming when people will be amazed that the human race existed so long before it recognized that thoughtless injury to life is incompatible with real ethics. Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility to everything that has life.”
“Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives.”
Opening the Heart with Imagery
In late July 2017, I (JG) visited the Philadelphia Art Museum to view the exhibition, “Wild”, featuring the important work of photographer Michael Nichols.
A core discovery for me is the quote from Camus that introduces the exhibition:
“A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”
Mrithi, A Silverback Mountain Gorilla, Virunga Mountains, Rwanda, 1981
This expressive portrait dates to an early moment in Nichols’s career. He sought as assignment on the Virunga mountain gorillas, his first serious effort to photograph animals. The immediacy and intimacy of this picture heralds the direction he would follow in the years to come. He stated recently, “Everything I do today come from these mountain gorillas. I understood immediately that animals are individuals and have rights.”
Ebobo, A lowland gorilla, Nouabale-Ndoki, National Park, Republic of Congo 1999, photograph and copyright by Michael Nichols
Cross References: Quieting the Heart (1), Discovering Beauty (2), Explorers Wheel (6), Enhancing Immunity Through Love (7)
Ikaria–the island where people forget to die.