The wisdom seeker knows that wisdom is not given, it is found. Sometimes one is aware of asking a question and seeking an answer yet, often, an answer becomes apparent in the absence of inquisitive thought or intention. This is because, in nature, wisdom surrounds us. It hangs in the air, rests on a rock, or is carried by the birds. In the right conditions, simply walking into this wisdom will conduct it deep into our somatic being and initiate a profound resonance, an understanding, a knowing without words. It is not always diffuse, however, and the wisdom seeker often finds oneself spontaneously turned around, pulled off trail, or stopped in mid-step, when this resonating wisdom calls from a specific direction.
Recently I was walking a familiar trail at a comfortable pace, fully settled into my body’s navigation of the rocks, roots, and drops, when I immediately stopped and turned ninety degrees to my left. There was no thought involved, and no particular sensation of sound, sight, or smell that drew my attention in that direction. Upon turning, there were two crows sitting atop a large lichen covered rock, still and silent, and looking at me. Simultaneous with the perception of these birds and this rock, was the sensation of a powerful presence and unspoken communication. I had not asked any question of nature, nor had I been struggling with any decision around that time. Yet, the crows seemed to be waiting for me or inviting me that direction. I knew what lied behind them, the rock, and the hillside they rested upon, as I’ve been that way before. There was nothing but mountains and wilderness. The crows then turned and flew off, disappearing over the hill into this wilderness. A presence remained, however, and my perception turned to this large lichen covered rock. I sensed that it too was waiting, as it has for millions of years. It has observed the changes in the local ecology for some time and the changes in behavior of the Homo sapiens walking by it for thousands of years. The raw perception of this large rock seemed to carry a reassuring weight and receptivity. As I finally felt a plateau in this presence and resonating connection, I turned and continued down the trail, now trying to interpret this somatically received communication. It then dawned on me that I did have a question, a lingering question which could not really be answered. It seemed that nature, however, was willing to at least make a comment. To my continuously present, subconscious question “will humanity ever reconcile with mother nature?” nature, the crows, and the lichen covered rock seemed to offer an invitation home, a supporting embrace, and patience. Perhaps nature feels confident that the relationship will be rekindled and perhaps I should be less pessimistic. Wise nature suggested that I love and trust my own wayward species a little more. After all, each one of us is seeking the wholeness, oneness, and health that only mother nature can provide. With time, humility, honesty, and guidance, we will begin our journey back to wholeness, and mother nature has indicated that she will welcome us home.
Experiences like this can be constant and endless. Often times they happen spontaneously if one is sensuously aware and in the present time and space. But there are a few preparatory steps one can take to more reliably consult nature’s wisdom. First, get in touch with (i.e. feel) your overarching intention in life. Next, pose to nature the essence of your question (if you have one). Then, breathe deep, release your thoughts, and walk (or sit or stand) in nature. Stay sensually connected to the present place. Notice when your attention is pulled to some entity, being, or presence. Experience the connection and the unspoken and somatically based intuition (gut feeling). Over time, let the experience emerge within the mind, contemplate and interpret it gently. Don’t force meaning upon the experience, sometimes it takes days, weeks, or months for the message to become clear.