Wednesday, November 26, 2008
LISTENING TO MY ANCIENT INSTINCTS
On the way to work this morning I saw a lovely rainbow bridge, that turned into a double, then turned back to a single as I watched. The sky was soot- gray and the rainbow's colors stood out brilliantly against it. Trees, their bark stained dark from the rain and leaves golden from the change of season, also stood out brightly against the dark backdrop.
It wasn't raining when I got to campus, so I decided to walk a back way, through a eucalyptus grove and down along the art building that leads into the sculpture garden. When I came to the edge of the garden, a soft rain was falling as if in slow motion, backlit by the sun that had peeked through. I had to just stood and watched it for a while, it was so mesmerizingly beautiful.
It is times like these that I am amazed at the subtle power of choice. The lovely sky this morning made me think about taking my camera with me to work, but I decided against it because I didn’t want to bother. I missed opportunities for photos, but once I got to work, my choice to walk a different way provided me the opportunity to enjoy the surprise moment of the rain lit by sunlight, and the memory of it will be with me always.
We make choices constantly, some conscious and some unconscious. But some are ‘gut feelings’ that we should pay more attention to. These, I believe, are remnants of old instincts or senses that we have developed over our evolution as a species, such as being wary of the danger lying in a dense thicket or the ‘feeling’ that one direction would lead to something we needed. These senses or feelings have languished and often grown dormant the further we distance ourselves from the natural world.
The more I immerse myself in the outdoors, the more I pay attention to these ‘instincts’ and find that I am rewarded in so many ways. My choices to walk at a particular time, to walk on a certain path, or in some specific direction have led me to some very pleasurable experiences. I follow my hunches and feelings, letting them guide me where they will.
I remember many times I decided to walk in a particular area of the campus, not so much on a whim as on a ‘feeling’ that it was the right place to go, and have had many wonderful bird sightings or some natural phenomenon that would have otherwise been missed. I try to pay close attention to this ‘inner voice’ and to be more attuned to feelings that may be so subtle as to be easily ignored. Keeping one’s awareness honed and sharpened allows us to live more fully and more deeply.
In concert with paying attention, I have allowed myself to drift into reverie while listening to sound of wind as it stirs through the branches of trees, or while watching clouds drift across the face of the full moon, veiling and unveiling its brilliance. To do so is to feel the power of nature, its rhythms and cycles, its smell and feel and touch. These are gifts we all have access to. All that is required is a wanting, a longing to reconnect with forces that have too long been lost to us. It is a close as your immediate surroundings, as near as your heart and mind.