Become a Child Again
© Lang Elliott 2013, All Rights Reserved
To enter into the kingdom of nature, we must, in a sense, become a child again. This does not mean a return to the darker side of childhood – to the tantrums, outbursts, and selfish behavior – but rather to an innocent and unworried state of mind where the world is entirely new and every walk in nature is a path of discovery and absorption in the abundant miracles that surround us.
Remember how it felt when you first observed ants, how you squatted low to the ground and marveled at their industriousness, your eyes able to focus only several inches away. Remember how a tiny stream, swollen after a thundershower, appeared as wild a torrent as could be found anywhere on earth. Remember when you first saw a butterfly, its colorful wings flickering like stardust as it flew overhead. Remember when nature provided an unending wealth of miraculous discoveries, when life on earth yielded pure delight, and your undivided attention came as naturally as breathing.
You may think that you never experienced the world in this way, but I would say that that you did, and that you are just having trouble remembering. Perhaps you’ve lived so long in a state of constant worry and concern that you have lost sight of your roots, of that magical time in your life before you were overcome by self awareness, before you fell prey to the myriad forces in society that undermine the earth connection that is your birthright. While a lucky few maintain this connection throughout life, most of us become so overwhelmed by human concerns that we lose our lifeline to nature and forget how to embrace it with all our senses.
So how do we recover an open and ecstatic state of mind? How do we once again explore the earth with innocent curiosity, and delight in everything we find? Well … we find our way back by acknowledging the problem, by training ourselves to quiet our chattering minds, by surrendering to our senses. To the degree that we achieve an inner stillness and an outward openness, nature will come pouring in, washing away any vestiges of the cares and woes that clog our awareness.
Entering into the “Nature Bubble,” as I refer to it, is easy to accomplish, once you understand what it is about and why you should do it. Relaxing into the bubble is rejuvenating and life affirming. Although you are awake and receptive, it functions like sleep, allowing you to rest your mind and renew your spirit. Occupying the Nature Bubble takes you out of yourself. It is the opposite of selfishness. With your mind quiet and senses directed outward, you become an un-obstructed point of awareness, a clear witness to creation, free of judgement and noise.
This is not to say that your mind is entirely inactive. You can still hold an inner conversation. You can laugh at things you see and marvel at things you hear. When you feast your attention on some natural phenomenon, you can wonder about it, converse with yourself about it, but always in a state of innocent rapture, where your inner conversation pales in comparison to the poignance of the experience itself. It is far more important to fully absorb the experience than it is to have this thought or that. Pure experience is thoughtless and essential to resting quietly in the Nature Bubble. Only in stillness can we truly behold the miracle unfolding before us.
Stumbling through life with noisy minds
Thinking we have answers, or thinking we don’t
Never stopping silent, and never Not thinking
And as a result, never really Hearing
Anything, but our own minds . . . Rattling.
Lang Elliott – circa 1980