Nature’s Living Wisdom
Can We Place our Lives in the Context of the Wider Cycles that Govern the Planet?
Seasonal, circadian, lunar, and tidal patterns don’t just form the background to our lives—they are our lives. We are composed of rhythms and exist within the rhythms of nature. They are fundamental to our well-being. The quality of our personal experiences, when synced up with universal intelligence versus struggling and forcing through the powerlessness of the limited mind, is like night and day. Patterns in nature emphasize the changing and the changeless cycles of life, and we must align with these waves of energy if we are to evolve and thrive.
As a trend forecaster for more than a decade, I’ve learned that all most people consciously (and subconsciously) concern themselves with is the future and how it’s going to affect them. It’s why people devour any media that mentions future business predictions, peruse star signs, and seek influential thought leaders as friends. We want to be at the forefront of life. We don’t want to be left behind, feeling trapped and insignificant.
I used to make strategic recommendations to my clients based on consumer trends, but, as with most aspects of life today, the old way no longer works. Innumerable commercial models are broken, and unpredictability is the new normal. In the past, most of my clients wanted me to comprehend cycles of business and attitudinal change, but really the most important cycles and frequencies to perceive, understand, and apply are nature’s.
Rhythm arises from alternation—ebb and flow, expansion and contraction, waxing and waning, building and dissolving—as one state transitions effortlessly to another. We’re permanently in a climate of change. Life’s not static; it’s transitional. We’re continually adjusting, fluctuating, tinkering, and oscillating.
Although the frenetic, hurried pace of modern life isn’t geared to respecting nature’s living wisdom, that’s no excuse to abdicate responsibility and not try. These patterns of energies present us with wisdom on how to be in the world and offer strategies to move forward with ease and grace.
Syncing Up With a Greater Power Source
One of the greatest pleasures in life is enjoying the transition from night to day and day to night. Unfortunately most adults miss the changeovers: They’re asleep for the first one, and are stuck in an office for the second. Cues from outside rhythms influence our internal biorhythms, and, unfortunately, artificial lighting, long working hours, and jet lag lets corporate life dictate our circadian rhythms more than nature.
We’re constantly fighting our natural circadian rhythm, a roughly 24-hour cycle taking place in our bodies. Nourishing our internal clock is crucial for our well-being, and many of us are currently not living the way nature intended, in sync with the rhythms of the rising and setting sun. Just as we sync our iPod with our iTunes account, it would benefit us to harmonize with the light-dark cycle, as it’s the inherited blueprint our cells and organs follow. Aligning ourselves with the signals of nature expands our awareness and helps us release our worries. When we dwell in the womb of nature, the artificial falls by the wayside and serenity returns.
There’s a natural period of alertness in the morning, and a time of restlessness after sundown, but many of us work on our laptops until the very last second before sleep. Bringing ourselves into line with the light-dark cycle reminds us that life is fleeting, and to ground ourselves in the constancy and grandeur of the rising and setting sun in order to find peace in its recurrence and flawlessness.
The sun never struggles to rise or set. It does so effortlessly and with great ease. It’s a reminder for us to go about our day just as fluidly. These 24 hours will never come again, and the sun’s exultant path across the sky is a reminder of each day’s uniqueness. By not witnessing the sun’s movements on a regular basis, we miss the miracle of how each day comes to be and how quickly it vanishes like an apparition into the night sky. It—shamelessly—makes it easier for us to complain and trudge our way through the daylight hours. Acknowledging each day as it opens and closes reminds us to be thankful for all the vast, indescribable beauty that exists in between.
Each evening the stars take their rightful place in the sky to form a luminous blanket, but a ceiling confines the conclusion of most of our nights. The stars remind us how beautiful and precious life is when we keep our focus elevated. Appreciating the grand cosmic scenery in the universe and our relationship to it requires discipline, perseverance, and fluidly alternating between the territories of the magical and the ordinary.
The Ephemeral Beauty of Temporariness
We must train ourselves to view the ordinary with fresh eyes. Otherwise, we’ll forever be chasing extraordinary future moments, which take us out of the now. Bear witness to the rare in the everyday, not only on holidays and special occasions.
Moments are fleeting so other moments can enter into our lives. These points of time are transitory. That’s how nature is: It lives, it dies, and the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth continues. Although at times it’s invisible to our eyes, nature is in a constant state of growth or decay, shapeshifting like a wave that forms, breaks, and disappears back into itself. Moments can’t be relived; they’re one-offs. Relinquishing the need to hold on doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy all of life’s experiences. Rather, we submit ourselves to the impermanence of all things. We don’t try to capture what’s ephemeral, because we’ll only diminish its beauty and imprison its legacy.
The sun always falls across offices, gardens, and coffee shops in abundantly scenic ways during the day, but maybe we’ve never noticed the subtleties of light before, or the canvas of a building doesn’t seem to adequately highlight the changing shadow patterns. When we witness the variations nature brings to spaces, we can be with the wonder of the light never falling this way again to cast these particular silhouettes, or that the winter sun won’t ever shine through the poplar trees, forming outlines that dazzle like luminous fireflies in this exact same way again. We have the opportunity to turn the lead of shadows into the gold of illumination.
Balance as a Dynamic State
We have a deluded idea of balance in modern life. We believe it’s static, and this perception causes us tremendous agony, as nothing in life stands still. Nothing stays the same, and planning otherwise is futile. Life shouldn’t be a constant, uphill struggle, but that’s what we turn it into when we refuse to harmonize with the unfolding laws of nature.
Nature, like balance, is dynamic. We shapeshift to the rhythm of the moment as it moves with and through us, but modern society demands uniformity and consistency. Franchised coffee anyone?
The balance most people chase is an illusion. They forget balance is ever-elusive due to its constantly changing form. The version of balance women’s magazines sell implies a fixed, one-off ending, but in reality we bring balance to our internal mind as a frequently repeating process. Rebalancing is a moment-to-moment activity, as we adapt to what the current situation requires. Consider balance as balance with the now—not maintaining equilibrium as a permanent state, but constantly orienting ourselves to each new moment. Trying to force a constant state of balance will derail us every time.
Silence as a Path to Creativity
A frequency to often tune into is silence. Not analytical or reflective quiet, but pure stillness. We don’t routinely practice silence, as it doesn’t yet mean more to us than all the other things in our day. When we experience this stillness, and trust the peace it brings, only then will we commit to regular repetition and not treat it as an expendable resource.
When we listen to music, it’s the spaces in between that create what we hum along to. The spaces between sounds are as important as the musical notes themselves. The holes give Swiss cheese its taste and appeal, just as the zeroes in binary code allow the ones to function. Equally, it’s the still gap between our thoughts where true originality, creativity, and the very essence of life exists.
It’s not about completely shutting off our thoughts, but rather letting the space shine through. The vibration of sound is everywhere—the heating system, radio, e-mail notifications—so learn to luxuriate in creative, silent pauses. Lap them up and change what we value. Sound has driven our lives this last century. It’s time to give the same value to silence as we do to noise.
Visualize connecting to the silence at the bottom of the ocean. Even though movements occur on the water’s surface, they don’t disrupt the intrinsic stillness underneath. It’s not enough just to think about peace and quiet— we need to live it. Find ways to reconnect with stillness at regular intervals throughout the day, saluting the silence that lies beneath all that you do. Just as the trees momentarily gust in the wind, we should strive to be the enduring tranquility that lies behind the temporary blowing of the leaves as we go about our day.
Pacing One’s Life to an Inner Rhythm
We infuse our actions with meaning by doing things at their proper pace. This leads innumerably to the pleasure and enjoyment of a situation. Observe how quickly many of us in our stress-filled, 24/7, “always on” lives walk when we’re not even in a hurry. Urgent becomes our default everyday speed, as we let our surroundings and external influences pace us.
Struggling and resisting the rhythms of nature by not accepting the inherent perfection within the cycles leads to anxiety and a great deal of inner and outer conflict. Living at a constant sprint is unsustainable. Rather than let the passage and pressures of time assault us, it’s far wiser to sense the various rates of knots in existence and be with the individual pace of a process. Many of us are great at being on time, but don’t know how to exist in time— i.e., in rhythm. We’re so enslaved by time that we’ve lost the art of being timeless and live our lives out on the periphery, instead of at the center.
We want to get everywhere fast: be an adult before we complete our teens, have success before we’ve been tested, demand a finished painting before we even draw the first line. It’s not about anticipating the next part of the cycle, but being one with the energetic experience of the phase we’re in now. If we can’t fully accept where we are now, we end up doing great damage to where we’re meant to be.
The Italians have a musical notation not found in any other language—tempo giusto, which means “the right tempo,” a steady, normal beat, between 66 and 76 on the metronome. As an objective measure, tempo giusto is the average beat of the human heart; subjectively, the rightness of the tempo at a suitability garnered from the musician’s intuition. The term is now a lifestyle movement advising the modern world to start living at a true tempo—to live in accordance with both one’s own inner rhythm and in congruence with seasonal, circadian, lunar, and tidal rhythms.
Get in Rhythm
Reason and logic rule in our world today. But we can’t reason our way out of our problems; we need to feel our way through. The heart is considered unreliable. Society has deemed it not fit to rule, regarding it a redundant, useless barometer. When we use our intuition to readjust our internal rhythm to join with the universe’s cycles, we begin to feel how things in their natural order play out—the monarch butterfly migration, for example— and begin living life through this reality.
To all creation there is a visible and invisible gestation period. When we’re in reverence of the invisible, there’s no struggle, pain, or discomfort in birthing our new ideas into being. The future unfolds in a state of flow, which involves perceiving ourselves as dynamic entities working with the rhythms of the natural world, not against them. While flow implies natural ease, it comes through mastering active and receptive methods, masculine and feminine principles, and other polarities and universal paradoxes.
It’s time for us to stop valuing clock time over the natural movements of the sun and moon. It’s time to connect to time through sensation, and lose the logic of the digital timepiece. Rather than letting a regimented corporate and consumerist life dictate our days, let’s instead allow the cycles and their idiosyncratic energies to guide us. Observe the Mongolian farmers and their nomadic lifestyles: They let the natural world direct them and their animals, and it’s this very fluidity and connection to the earth that’s missing from our urban, technologydriven lives.
Find a way to feel at one with the land and the energies of the cycles. Only by unifying with the rhythms of nature can we feel the wonder and majesty of the world and in ourselves. We cannot break the laws of nature. We can only break ourselves by going against them.
Originally printed on davidreport.com
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #62.
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