In the Bosom of Nature
The refinement and evolution of a human being requires not only a cultivation of his intellectual faculties, not only of his heart qualities, but also of his aesthetic faculties. All should be trained together at the same time. A love of the beautiful in nature and art, in sunsets and pictures, in flowers and music, lifts him nearer the ideal of perfection.
They whose emotions can respond to the grandeur and sublimity of Nature in all her manifold expressions, in forest and mountain, river and lake, in sea and sky, and the beauty of flowers, are not materialists even though they may so call themselves. Unconsciously they offer their devotion to the Divine Reality, even though they may call it by some other name.
It is a common experience that in shady woodland walks there is an effluence of peace in the atmosphere. We need not wonder that in such and kindred places it is easier to find the quietness within. It is true that men have found their way to the Overself in almost every kind of environment, but there was more help and less conflict when they were alone with primeval Nature.
There are moments when a man may sit alone with nature, when no sound intrudes and all is quiet, pleasant, harmonious. If he will enter into this stillness with nature and enter it deeply enough, he will find that it is associated with what most religions call God.
In looking for the beauty in Nature, a man is looking for his soul. In adoring this Beauty when he finds it, he is recognizing that he not only owns an animal body, but is himself owned by a higher Power.
The beautiful in Nature, the singing of birds, the coming of Spring’s colours recall the beautiful moods in ourself when glimpses revealed the soul.
We need quiet places where the earth is left in its natural state and where men can seek in leisure and freedom to recover their independence of thought and to restore awareness of their inner selves–so hard to gain and so easy to lose in the modern world.
A sensitive person may be gently influenced by such beauty of Nature to pause and gaze, holding himself still for the while, admiring and appreciating the scene, until he is so absorbed that he is lost in it. The ego and its affairs retreat. Unwittingly he comes close to the delicious peace of the Overself.
He begins to look on the world afresh, as if for the first time. But it is the beauties, the harmonies, the inner meanings, and the higher purposes that he now sees. He becomes more attentive to the attractiveness of Nature, observes her colourings and forms with new delight.
What I call natural meditation, that which comes of itself by itself or which comes from the admiration of nature or of music, is not less valuable than any meditation of the yogi, and perhaps it is even better since there is no artificial effort to bring it about. The man feels his inner being gradually lapsing into this beautiful mood which seems to coalesce a feeling of hush, peace, knowledge, and benignity.
Anyone who is susceptible to beauty in music or place has a spiritual path ready-made for him.
He will accomplish this disciplinary work best if he retires to the quietude and contemplation of Nature, to a country seclusion where he can be least distracted and most uplifted. Here is the temple where aspiration for the Higher Self can find its best outlet; here is the monastery where discipline of the lower self can be easiest undertaken.
I love flowers but only when they are in gardens or in pots. For then they are living things but, cut, they are decaying, dying ones.
The flower’s beauty is simply a pointer, reminding us to think, speak, and behave beautifully.
The beauty we see in a single flower points to a MIND capable of thinking such beauty. In the end Nature and Art point to God.
The gardener who waters his flowers and shrubs with loving patience receives love from them in return. It is not like the human kind, but is the exact correspondence to it on the plant level.
The two great daily pauses in Nature offer wonderful minutes when we, her children, should pause too. Sunrise is the chance and time to prepare inwardly for activity; sunset to counterbalance it. We do not take proper advantage of the gifts of Nature but let ourselves be defeated by the conditions in which we have to live under our times and civilization.
When the sun dips low and vanishes, when dusk begins to fall and the colours darken and merge, the mind can move with Nature into its great pause. A man whose temperament is sensitive, aesthetic, religious, psychic, or Nature-loving can profit by this passage from day to night and come closer to awareness of his soul.
In those moments of suspense when light is yielding so reluctantly to the dark, there is an opportunity to look within and come closer to the Overself.
My happiest hours come when the sun is about to bid us farewell. Those lovely minutes are touched with magic; they bring my active mind and body to a pause. They invite me to appreciate the radiant glowing colours of the sky and finally they command me to enter the deep stillness within, so that when all is dark with the coming of night all is brilliantly illuminated inside consciousness.
Rich are those possible experiences when one sits and gazes at the western horizon before eventide, the sun going out of sight, the heart open to beauty and grace as it longs for the Overself.
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