Orange stains cascade like rivers down the length of the cream-colored sandstone mesa in front of this little house. They mark the paths that are taken by the rainwater, which takes the shape of hundreds of waterfalls during the rainstorms that frequently grace the desert. There is no wind this morning. Not one breath of breeze. The pinion and juniper trees sit completely still. With no movement in the landscape, it looks much more like a pastel painting than real terrain. The silence of the desert is unparalleled. It makes the voice of the internal self much easier to hear. The internal voice gets drowned out in the noise of our busy-ness. It gets drowned out by schedules and traffic and entertainment and distraction, all of which are amplified in the cities of our world. The natural wilderness has the capacity to lead us back to our true selves. You cannot escape yourself. At first, if you are not used to it, the unpeopled sound and silence of the natural world is unsettling. There is nothing to distract you from yourself. There is nothing to use as a tool to manipulate the truth of your feelings. The hours go by slowly. There is no “rush” in the natural world. There is nowhere to get to. There is a peacefulness that feels unnatural to those of us who have built our life according to the concept of getting somewhere. Getting to that promotion, getting to the gym, getting to that vacation, getting to the grocery store… moving, moving, moving and never present where we are. The ’nowness’ of the natural world forces you to be present. That is a difficult state if one is uncomfortable with themselves. That is a difficult state if one is not familiar with the feeling of their full consciousness being present with them in the moment. The absence of stress that accompanies the peacefulness of the natural wilderness is why I am here.
I have spent over two weeks straight going between cities. Cities require that one goes searching for the voice of their own being. It’s like trying to listen for a whisper over the roar of a crowd. I have come here to feel the effortlessness of expression of my inner voice. The natural world is a place to be at one with yourself. It is a place to hear yourself clearly, to hear your truths clearly. The energy of the natural world is not distorted by the overlay of human consciousness. Human consciousness is beautiful when it is not polluted by perversion and fear. But human consciousness creates energetic distortion when people live in unhealthy, unmindful, unnatural, rushed, overcrowded and disconnected environments.
One of the most important things that we can do as a species is to preserve natural wilderness around the world. Not only for the benefit of the earth itself and our fellow non human beings that inhabit it, but also for the benefit of our own species. History has taught us that the only people, who really get to enjoy natural sanctuaries, are people who can afford to pay for and upkeep their own little sections of pristine nature. These are the people who can afford lake houses or ranches or mansions overlooking valleys or the ocean. To me, this is a travesty. To me, this is to count ourselves as separate from each other. As a species, we must find ways to enable all people to benefit from natural sanctuaries. Everyone, regardless of his or her wealth or lack there of should be able to access the natural world. Free parks, wilderness areas and national monuments along with education about the natural world must be provided to all people. The health of our species is so connected to the natural world both on the level of physical survival and on the level of mental/spiritual health that we ultimately have no other option than to preserve the natural world and make it accessible to all people if we want to thrive. If we spent more money and time prioritizing wilderness by engaging in preservation and mindful development instead of ‘unconscious development’, there would be much less chronic illness in this world. We would not become so detached from our essence. There would be enough natural spaces that the natural spaces would not be overcrowded as parks so often are.
Cities provide mental stimulation. In them, you are immersed in human consciousness. Natural spaces provide heart stimulation. In them, you are immersed in the interconnected collective consciousness of many species. We are so often cut off from other species. We are cut off from them because we have forgotten that we are interdependent with this earth and with the other species inhabiting this earth. We are part of the ecosystem. And we have forgotten that we cannot rule over what we are only a part of.
Our bodies in fact are more like eco systems than organisms. There are a great many beings that call your body home, such as microorganisms and bacteria. These beings are indivisible from you because they benefit your existence and you could not exist without them any more than they could exist without you. What many people do not know is that your cells and organs are also more like separate beings that call your body home. We have the tendency of viewing them as if they are machine like parts of ourselves. In truth, they are indivisible from you, but they also have their own consciousness and personalities. You, (the you that you call by your name) are really the collection of all of these things. You are in essence a small-scale collective consciousness.
Understanding and beginning to view your body in this way is really important because so much health and vitality can come as a result of connecting with and honoring the separate parts of the ecosystem that is your body. And one of the most important parts of your body to connect with is the heart.
The heart is the first organ to form when the body is developing in utero. When an embryo is made up of only a very few cells, each cell can get the nutrients it needs directly from its surroundings. But as the cells divide and multiply to form a growing body, it soon becomes impossible for nutrients to reach all the cells efficiently without help. The cells also produce waste that they need to get rid of. So the heart and the blood and circulatory system that branches off from the heart, form the first organ system to develop in the human body. The heart is the connection between all future systems, which comprise the body. This is why it is so often seen as the center of your being. You can use the heart as a doorway between physical and non-physical reality. You can also use the heart to send energy to all parts of your body (much like it sends blood to all parts of your body).
I want to introduce you to an exercise that you can use in order to connect with any part of your body, but today we are going to use it to connect with the heart. To begin with, close your eyes and place your hands, one on top of the other, over the top of your heart. Your heart is located right under your sternum in the center of your chest. Take some time to feel how your heart feels to you on both a sensation level and on an emotional level. If I were to mention the name of one of your friends, you would notice that there is an accompanying sensation that comes along with your idea of that person. This, more so than their name or details about them, is their signature. This is how your being recognizes them as different from the rest of the people you know. Your heart is like a friend. A friend you probably don’t know very well yet. But it has it’s own signature just like your friends do. This is why you can feel it as a being inside of you with a very specific life’s purpose to fulfill… namely to keep you alive.
Imagine your heart as a separate being that lives inside you. What does your heart feel like? If your heart were a living being, what personality would this being have? (Feel free to visualize your heart as an actual mini being or even as a mini person if you wish) What would this being want? What would this being dislike? Does this being feel appreciated and loved or does it feel ignored and undervalued?
Just take some time to be with your heart exactly as it is and exactly how it feels right here and now. There is no right or wrong way to have a conversation with your heart. You intuitively know what kind of conversation needs to take place. But I will give you a basic outline for developing a 2-way connection with your heart. Begin by asking your heart directly, “What makes you unhappy?” “What do you need me to do differently?” “If you could have one wish, what would it be?” And “What do you have to tell me?” You will receive the answers on an intuitive level. Either you will hear the answers or you will see them in your minds eye, or you will find that you just know the answers intuitively because they will pop up in your consciousness.
Next, it’s your turn to speak to your heart. Address the concerns that were put forth by your heart. Acknowledge that you value your heart’s needs and wants and perspective. After all, it represents the perspective of your true self. What do you think your heart needs to hear? Tell that to your heart. You can speak to your heart inside your mind’s eye if you do not wish to speak out loud. Next, take steps to fulfill the wish that your heart expressed. Keep in mind; this might not be something that can be accomplished in one sitting. It might for example be a lifestyle change that your heart wants you to make.
Once you feel as if you have reached an understanding with your heart, take some time to express gratitude for your heart. Acknowledge the work that it is faithfully and loyally doing to keep you alive and vital because it loves you. Express the love you have for your heart. Visualize that love flowing into your heart and nourishing your heart. See your heart sucking this love up and pumping it through your arteries and veins throughout the entire rest of your body. Feel your body as it too soaks up this love that the heart is pumping to it. Watch that love diffuse throughout your whole body and throughout each tiny little cell.
Just before you come back to the present moment, make a promise to your heart (if you feel ready) that you will always be available to talk to if it wants or needs to talk to you and that because you love it and have gratitude for it, you are going to fulfill it’s wishes because you agree with it’s wisdom and perspective. Then, take four deep breaths, allowing the oxygen to completely fill your lungs and completely exit your lungs and when you are finished, open your eyes.
The more connected you are with your heart, the more connected you are with your own personal truth and the more connected you are with your soul. Your heart bares the burden of the emotional trauma that you have experienced throughout your life. Relieving that burden and expressing love and gratitude for your heart is a critical part of your spiritual progression. You are in a relationship with your heart. Your heart is your best friend and it is your life partner. If you want yourself to thrive, you have to treat the relationship with your heart like you would treat the relationship with your significant other.