CONNECTING WITH YOUR TRUE ESSENCE
We simply feel good when we are outside. Whether it is walking in the forest, swimming in the sea, sitting in the desert or being with animals. We forget time as we are in the flow of life. Why do we feel such bliss?
It’s at this time that our souls go back home. That’s where we are no longer someone’s daughter, son, mother, father, wife or husband. We are just ourselves.
Connecting with earth is essential for us to remember and feel who we truly are – a part of nature.
Earth is alive. She breathes, moves, and stays still. She can also be emotional, upset, joyful, shed many tears, or be at peace.
It Started In Childhood
I was born and raised in a Japanese countryside called Nagano. Located in the centre of the main island of Honshu, it’s a popular holiday destination and a land of beautiful vegetables and fruits. Surrounded by high mountains exceeding 3000 meters, people enjoy different outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain climbing and skiing.
Four distinctive seasons see people enjoying the scent of flowers, trees buds and soil in spring; deep green mountains in summer; giant carpets of yellow and orange leaves in autumn, and the cold wind and snow in winter.
All these evoke various emotions in people. They range from joy and calmness, to sorrow. Earth converses with people and other beings throughout the year.
Humans have coexisted with earth for a long time. Cultural rituals that exist in all corners of the world prove how they are strongly connected with their land. This tight bond is stored in every single cell of human bodies.
I have learned to connect with the land since a very young age through everyday life and traditional events. This relates to Shinto, Japan’s indigenous religion, or a way of living. It’s based on great respect for all living and non-living things including animals, plants, rocks and waterfalls.
Since Shinto has neither a specific founder nor any books of scripture, people learn this way of living from their family and society. It is respectfully passed down from generation to generation.
I was taught that gods live everywhere on the land – in the mountains, rivers, fields, lakes and seas. We humans are just allowed to live on this sacred land. This teaching makes people appreciate and respect their surroundings.
The Foundation Of Co-existence
Nature is not something that humans conquer; rather, it is something to keep them alive. Even unexpected phenomenon or unfavourable weather happens for people to learn very important lessons. All humans can, therefore, learn and move on.
Gratitude and respect is the foundation for coexistence. My grandmother taught me how to be respectful to the land and what she provides us. Since both of my parents were working, they used to leave home before I finished my breakfast.
As a slow eater, I was always the last person at the table. But my grandmother would wait for me patiently. No matter how long I took, she was right next to me until I finished the last grain of rice in my bowl. She taught me that leaving food on the plate is very disrespectful to the land, farmers, animals, insects and whoever is involved in producing the food.
What we eat is a gift from nature. Even a small grain of rice contains the energy of the land. A farmer had worked hard to grow it, a person at a shop had sold it, and another person had cooked it. What we can do is to be thankful to our land and every living/non-living thing as we cannot live alone.
We Are A Part Of The Whole
There is no separation between humans and nature.
As people breathe, earth also breathes. Animals, plants, and lands communicate with each other and exchange their emotions. Nature is complete, with various components supporting one another to live.
Connecting with nature is to remember we are just a part of the whole. When we feel connected with our surroundings, we feel oneness and remember who we truly are.
In oneness, there is no separation, no isolation and no classification. There exists no sadness, suffering, worrying, loneliness, competition, jealously, anger, or envy. There is only unconditional love and endless peace. In this state of being, we can see ourselves in others and others can see themselves in us as we are one.
Go outside and spend more time in nature. If that’s not possible, then feel the ground, breathe consciously, play with water, and bathe in the sun.
When you see animals, try to understand what they feel and see yourself in them. Talk to and listen to trees and insects. Unconditionally love your family, friends, colleagues, and whoever you meet in this life time. Pick up rubbish if you find it on the street.
Simply pay more attention to your surroundings, and enjoy this connection and sheer bliss. It is at this moment that you connect with your true essence.