GreenFriends Australia - Living Consciously Project
1. Develop Reverence for Nature
“Shouldn’t we express our gratitude to Mother Earth, who patiently provides her lap for us to run, jump and play upon? Shouldn’t we be grateful to the birds who sing for us, the flowers that blossom for us, the trees that provide us with shade and the rivers that flow for us? ” Amma
Developing reverence, love and respect for the natural world is the most vital link to healing our planet. Through meditation in nature, offerings of prayer to the earth and gratitude for all we are given, we can reconnect and give back to that which sustains us. By accepting that we are not separate from Nature but part of Her and recognizing that it is the very earth herself that gives us life, we reestablish an earth- based consciousness by which we can lay the foundations for rebuilding a life in harmony with the natural world. This attitude needs to come from the core of our being and be reflected in all aspects of our culture.
We're asking you to take on board to focus more on developing a meaningful relationship with the earth or nature and include 'reverence for nature' as part of your daily spiritual practice.
Across Australia activities are being held focusing on this very important theme, possibly the most important element in creating a future and culture that includes love and respect for all living things.
Developing Reverence for Nature is a key element in the whole of the Green Friends Living Consciously Ten Step program. It is the most fundamental aspect of the program and critical to the steps we need to take in order for lasting beneficial change to take place. It is a change in consciousness and a change of the way we view the world that is so needed to deepen our relationship with Nature. This change of view is imperative if we are to contribute to the protection and sustainable developments within the Natural world and for us to be able to live balanced, abundant, meaningful lives. It is fundamental for our own survival and spiritual progress.
In this modern era with our big cities, elaborately built houses, cars, technology and all our materialistic distractions it is no wonder we have lost touch with our connection to the earth. Science and technology has vastly developed in order to increase production, draw out the earth’s natural resources and meet the demands of a constantly expanding materialistic population. We use and exploit nature for our own selfish ends without care or consideration for the earth and without giving anything back in return. We have become estranged from the very essence of life, our original heritage and grass roots beginnings. It is this relationship; with the living world around us, that needs to be nurtured and woven back into our culture.
It is a paradigm shift within our minds that needs to take place; one where we begin seeing ourselves as part of Nature. Not above Her or separate from Her but intrinsically and fundamentally connected. It is about opening our minds and our hearts to a broader way of thinking. About restoring lost faith, spiritual beliefs and traditions that honor the earth and help us reestablish a compassionate view and meaningful connection with the earth. It’s about our own awakening as spiritual beings.
If we look upon this subject with a scientific mind we can see that we are intrinsically connected with the natural world and that we are part of the ecology of nature and dependent upon the earth to sustain our very existence. This fact in itself is not difficult to understand. What is difficult to understand is how we have come so far in own destruction without recognizing it and without dramatically changing our ways sooner.
Through the study of Ecology we can see that the natural world is made up of millions of interrelated highly complex and delicate ecological systems. Every plant animal insect and organism has a vital role in the functioning, maintenance and balance of these ecological systems. Even the slightest change or disturbance within these ecological systems can upset the balance and cause irreversible change to these natural environments. All over the world this long term destruction of ecological systems is causing species extinction and threatening the very existence of life upon this planet. Even now with this reality at our door step our culture and society are still being dominated by greed and selfishness and the illusion that somehow we can control, dominate and continue to ruthlessly exploit the earth.
Our lives are inextricably dependant on nature; even a small change will affect our lives on this planet. Similarly mans thoughts and actions will have an affect on Nature. If the balance in Nature is lost the harmony of human life will also be lost, and visa versa.
One factor that connects a human being with Nature is the innate innocence within man......Faith in God is the best way to sustain this childlike innocence in man.
He who has faith and devotion to God, which in term stems from his innate innocence, beholds God in everything, in every tree and animal, in every aspect of Nature. This attitude enables him to live in perfect harmony, in tune with Nature. The never ending stream of love that flows from a true believer towards the entire Creation will have a soothing effect on Nature. This love is the best protection of Nature.
It is when our selfishness increases that we begin to lose our innocence. When this happens man becomes estranged from nature and begins to exploit her. Man doesn’t know what terrible threat he has become to Her. By harming Nature, he is paving the way for his own destruction.
As mans intellect and scientific knowledge grow, he should not forget the feelings of his heart, which enable him to live in accordance with Nature and Her fundamental laws. (Man and nature M.A Mission Trust. p11)
How can we begin to restore this lost harmony in this fast paced ever expanding materialistic age? Many ancient cultures and tribal societies have lived in perfect balance with their local natural environments for thousands of years. It is from these ancient civilizations, the Seers of the past, ancient spiritual texts and scriptures and the Spiritual Teachers or Satgurus (Divine Incarnations) of our age that we can begin to re-awaken to our role as care takers of this earth rather than a species that dominates and controls.
Developing Reverence for Nature is simply developing love and compassion for all of Creation. That is:- for all living things; plants, animals, rivers, mountains and all of Natures kingdoms. Ancient traditions and religions have developed devotional prayer ceremonies that can contribute to the purification of vital energies and to the balance of cosmic forces, reestablishing the harmony between humans and Nature. Cultural beliefs, ancestral stories and art works also help to establish an emotional bond, a relationship between humans and Nature. Re-establishing that love and bond for Nature can be as simple as appreciating the beauty within Nature and having humility, awe and respect for the incredible workings of Nature. It is through re-establishing this love and bond with the Natural world that we can recognize our own existence as spiritual beings and indeed become closer to our true selves.
As Amma states;
In reality nature is nothing but God’s visible form which we can behold and experience through our senses. Indeed by loving and serving Nature, we are worshipping God himself.
Just as nature creates favorable circumstances for a coconut tree, and for a seed to transform itself into a huge fruit tree, Nature creates the necessary circumstances through which the individual soul can reach the supreme Being and merge in eternal union with Him.
A sincere truth seeker, or True believer, cannot harm Nature because he or she sees nature as God –he doesn’t see nature as being separate from himself. He is a real lover of Nature.
(Man and Nature, M.A Mission Trust, p26)
By Developing Reverence for Nature we can become more attuned to Nature, tuned to its natural rhythms and cycles and to the beauty and laws of the universe. Hence forth everything we do and develop can be done with respect and love for all living things, not with blind destruction, manipulation, greed and selfishness. We can grow our food crops having minimal impact on the land around us, and with gratitude for all that nature provides. We can harvest materials from the earth in a way that is sustainable and take only that which we really need. By living our lives more simplistically and without the extremes of a materialistic culture, we reduce waste and reduce exploitation of the earth’s natural resources. By bringing respect and love for Nature back into out spiritual and religious practices or our daily observations and reflections we indeed start to change our relationship with the earth. We can then start to reflect upon the way we are living and find new ways of developing culture and sustaining communities.
Practical ways we can develop respect, love and devotion for Nature:
1. Study the ancient scriptures and texts and follow the teachings of Satgurus/Divine Incarnations/Great Spiritual Teachers; whose pure consciousness can guide us and purify our minds and open our hearts. Regular devotional and spiritual practices help cleanse, purify and still our minds so that we may come to know the nature of our True Self and experience ‘God’ / Divine Essence/Pure Consciousness as it flows though every living thing. Under the guidance of such spiritual teachers we can learn devotional practices, spiritual disciplines and meditation, prayer and ritual that not only help us to evolve spiritually but that helps cleanse and purify the atmosphere and re balance the energies of the earth.
2. Daily spiritual practice including meditation and contemplation or stillness in nature will help us to fine tune our energies and reconnect to the subtle energies within Nature.
3. Spending time in remote or wilderness areas or in remnant bush land can help us experience the raw and untainted energies of the natural world, help us cleanse and purify our own energy fields and become more attuned and appreciative of Nature.
4. Ancient societies and cultures have lived in harmony with the Nature for thousands of years. We can learn from these communities an attitude of respect and reverence that otherwise has become lost to us in the modern era. In Australia, tribal elders of the Indigenous peoples of Australia have the potential to act as torch bearers for us, to lead us into an age of appreciation and deeper understanding of this unique and ancient land. Aboriginal or Indigenous Australians were the original caretakers of this land and lived in harmony with Her for thousands of years. All Australians have something to learn from these ancient beliefs in developing reverence for the land.
5. By growing our food we can become more attuned to the seasons and cycles of nature and can do so with a sense of gratitude for all that nature provides. When working in the garden or on the land we can be conscious of the subtle energies, beings and forces of nature and work with sensitivity and with an attitude of respect and reverence for all living things both seen and unseen.
6. Prayers to God/Nature help to purify our minds and create a healing affect for Nature. Even our loving thoughts will have a beneficial affect. In such a way we can establish loving relationships with the plants, trees, animals and creatures that occupy our own backyards or local areas. This attitude of respect and love can be encouraged and nurtured within our children so they too will learn to live with a sense of love and compassion for all living things.
Contact Us & Local GreenFriends Coordinators
||Lalana Davidson and Gemma Waddington
||Sri Devi Woodhead
||Greg and Libby Maulder
“Nature is nothing but Gods visible form, which we can see and experience through our senses. Indeed, by loving and serving Mother Nature, we are worshipping God directly”. AMMA Embracing the World
“The earth, plants and animals are all manifestations of God. We should love them as our own self”