In tune with nature
MARGARET SCHENKMAN is a nature lover, who has also learnt to embrace her inner nature through meditation. Here she explores the path of bringing balance and harmony between the inner and the outer worlds, and thus going further along the path to being in tune with Nature.
Growing up, I loved being outdoors – rolling in the grass, climbing trees, even playing in the mud. When I was six, my brothers and I tried to dig to China, and what a mess that created! When I was thirteen, my family moved to a small farm where we grew almost all of our food. I milked cows, raised sheep, and worked in the gardens. I spent hours outdoors, learning to recognize the different trees by their leaves as well as the flowers and insects that inhabited the farm. As years passed, I became an avid hiker, often hiking barefoot; I loved the feel of the Earth. One year I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon barefoot, because the boots I had brought were new and rubbing blisters. All in all, I could have described myself as a nature lover.
In my 30s, I was challenged by a debilitating health condition that brought my outdoors exploration to a sudden halt and opened up a spiritual journey through the practices of Heartfulness. This journey led to an inner exploration of Nature that was even more fascinating than the nature around me.
Early in my spiritual journey, I found the Ten Principles of Heartful Living. The fourth principle is to “simplify life to be identical with Nature.” When I first started thinking about this principle years ago, I was truly puzzled. I needed to renovate my garage and wondered, “Does that mean I shouldn’t put in an automatic door opener?” I didn’t think that was what this principle was suggesting, any more than I should live in a tent in the woods. But I wasn’t entirely sure.
So what was this principle all about? Clearly, it must be deeper than it appeared on the surface.
Through the teachings of Heartfulness, I have come to appreciate the relationship between Nature and vibration, and to understand how together they can lead to “oneness” amongst all people. We each transmit our vibration to the universe, and I have come to understand that it is through our vibratory state that we can be simple and identical with Nature.
Through the teachings of Heartfulness,
I have come to appreciate the relationship
between Nature and vibration,
and to understand how together
they can lead to “oneness” amongst all people.
This idea of a vibratory state was alien to me when I began exploring my inner nature. Over time, I realized that the idea of the vibratory state is easily appreciated when we walk into a room in which people have been arguing – we feel the heaviness that the vibrations create in the atmosphere. Think of the familiar adage, “You could cut the air with a knife.” Conversely, when we walk into the home of someone who lives a peaceful life, we feel the peace that pervades. Whether we are aware consciously or unconsciously, that awareness is there.
By studying the philosophy behind this principle of simplifying life to be identical with Nature, I began to appreciate that there is a natural vibration or current flowing in all of us. This vibration is layered over by the vibrations that we have set up for ourselves. Those latter vibrations are heavier, laden with our thoughts, wants, and desires, making it difficult to find the original vibration of Nature. I began to understand that if I wanted to be identical with Nature, somehow I needed to lessen my desires so that my vibratory state came closer and closer to that of Nature.
I began to understand that
if I wanted to be identical with Nature,
somehow I needed to lessen my desires
so that my vibratory state came closer
and closer to that of Nature.
Over the years, I have begun to see that I make choices every day; some of them lead me away from Nature, and some allow me to flow in a natural way. I have also observed that the choices which lead me away from Nature make my life more complicated. I can almost always get what I “want” if I try hard enough. For example, in my teens my brother had taken up working in gold. He made some lovely earrings and a pendant for my mother. I was jealous and desperately wanted him to make something for me. He made a small figurine of a man playing the violin, so I badgered him until he gave it to me so that I could wear it on a chain around my neck. To this day, I have it but can’t wear it – perhaps in shame at having insisted that he give it to me. I asked him to take it back many years later, but he would not. It is patently clear to me now how far that behavior led me away from Nature’s vibration. It was clearly not directed by a higher vibration, but by a desire, originating from a world view created by my own mind.
I find instances throughout my life in which I powered through to get what I wanted, without considering whether it was what I needed; I find a myriad of judgmental behaviors, of thoughtless acts. In each instance, I pursued what was contrary to the subtle vibration of Nature. I also find instances where my decisions appear to have been in tune with Nature’s plan for me; decisions that led to actions which flowed easily and filled me with great satisfaction. My choice of career was one such decision. After many years of education in one field, I began a new course of study on what seemed like a whim, which took me in the natural direction of my aptitudes and interests. I have found over the years that when the improbable calls clearly, I should listen. It never lets me down. But here’s the dilemma: what is clearly? When am I hearing a vibration from my heart, and when is it from my mind, my thought?
I have found that one way to truly hear the subtle vibration of the heart is to engage in the practices of Heartfulness. Three aspects of Heartfulness have helped me greatly in this endeavor:
First, the initial meditations with my spiritual teacher began to open an awareness of the vibrations of the heart. The connection with my heart helped me to develop an awareness of my inner nature. In the silence of those first meditations, and through many more meditations since, I have gradually become deeply aware of the vibratory state connecting my heart with all hearts.
Early on, I had a thought during a meditation, “How silly it would be if my toes thought they were separate entities from the rest of me.” I saw this as a metaphor for my own creation not being the whole story, as if I was not part of the whole. In other words, when I am deeply connected with the vibratory state of the whole, I am no longer a toe existing as a separate entity. I become one with my inner nature.
A second tool in the path to oneness with Nature is the process of Cleaning, which helps to remove impressions created through the experience of living. This is accomplished in two ways: by meditating with a trainer, when the vibrations are gradually cleared away, even if they have been accumulating for a very long time; and by doing individual cleaning daily to remove complexities accumulated during the day.
I picture these complexities as vibratory densities that have taken on a life of their own. If I leave them on their own, they become more and more entangled and alive. They become their own truth, a very limited truth. By cleaning the impressions away each day, I can appreciate life’s experiences without the narrow perception of my “self ” and the world in which I live. And, importantly, I can better hear the vibration of Nature within.
Just as nature has an infinite variety –
of colors of flowers,
of animals from the smallest mouse to the greatest lion
– so, too, do humans.
The third critical component is cooperation. My first spiritual teacher, Chariji, impressed upon me the importance of cooperation. For a long time, I did not understand the depth of meaning of this word. I equated cooperation with doing the meditation practice diligently. Over time, I came to appreciate that the meditation could change my awareness of my inner self, but only cooperation could change behaviors that hold me tightly to that expression of my self. I needed to let go of old habits, old thoughts, and old patterns of behavior, in order to stop propagating those vibrational densities that were keeping me separate from the vibration of Nature.
In fact, all the Heartfulness practices have been necessary on my journey toward identicality with Nature, especially meditating to better see my inner self, cleaning of vibrational densities that have accumulated over a lifetime, and cooperation to let go of those behaviors that create new vibrational densities.
For a time, I thought that identicality with Nature might mean losing my personality. Instead, I have found that meditation helps me understand my personality from a broader perspective. Just as nature has an infinite variety – of colors of flowers, of animals from the smallest mouse to the greatest lion – so, too, do humans. People come with a variety of temperaments, different strengths and skill sets, and from different cultures. People come with different personalities. At the same time, there is uniformity in Nature in terms of the fundamental vibratory state, a state of complete acceptance of all. The challenge is to embrace diversity, while gradually vibrating more and more with the uniformity of Nature.
Article by MARGARET SCHENKMAN
April 01, 2021
April 01, 2021
April 01, 2021