If we surrendered
to the earth’s intelligence
we could rise up like trees – Rilke

The earth community is alive. And contains many voices. Voices from places, from the whole range of natural phenomena, and from our non-human neighbours. This rich and varied earth community is a communicative presence capable of engaging responsively with us, if we take the time to listen carefully. While being able to hear and sense the world, and earth others, takes pratice, dedication and time, just making the intention to listen is the most significant and most important first step we can take.

As humans we have become locked into ourselves, into the human process. However, humanity is birthed, sustained and nurtured by nature, although our dependence on, and embeddedness in nature is often forgotten or denied. If we come to see ourselves as part of, and in relationship to, the larger patterns of the natural world, we can unfold naturally and gracefully within these larger patterns. We then awaken to the presence, mystery and sacredness at the heart of nature, and fully belong to the world.

In time, our lives become richer, vital and more meaningful as we are engaged with a world full of meaning and purpose.

Imaginal suggests four areas of practice in order to be more fully in the world:

Being receptive and open

I feel it with my body, with my blood. Feeling all these trees, all this country. When the wind blows you can feel it. Same for country … You feel it. You can look, but feeling … that make you. Bill Neidjie, Aboriginal Elder

This practice is to open ourselves and create resonance with others; nature, people and non human others. This makes us available for communicative encounters with our surrounding world. Opening to nature requires that we become still, pay attention and be receptive to other voices. Stillness requires that we quieten our minds so we can hear and pay attention to the rich rhythms of nature, consonant with our own rhythmic breathing and heartbeat. Paying attention requires recognising the presence and support of many others in our lives. Being receptive requires that we become open to, and understand the voices of the natural world.

Being creative

There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the earth – Rumi

This practice includes rituals, ceremonies, chanting, creative practices (dance, art, song, and movement) to celebrate and participate in our connection to nature. Expressing gratitude to the world through rituals results in a more intimate relationship with nature.

Exploring the depths

You have to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place. Bill Plotkin – Soulcraft

This practice includes developing wisdom through conversations with elders and nature visionaries from various traditions (including nature philosophy and indigenous wisdom) to build knowledge, awareness and participation in the active presence of nature. The aim is to rediscover our proper place in the world as a participant in the Earth community, while exploring deep metaphysical questions and issues, such as: Where is my community? What is my true place in the world? Who am I in my depths?

Taking right action

From this mysterious place on not-knowing and no-doing he gives birth to whatever is needed in the moment – The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu

After listening to the wisdom and voices of the Earth, to elders, to the wisdom of our own bodies, we need to take action to heal and nurture ourselves and the Earth. We need to listen to and trust our direct experience and develop a stronger life urge. This action is urgent. We need to take actions that synergise with the larger patterns of the earth, rather than imposing our abstract ideas and actions on the world. We each need to find the right actions and paths that are uniquely ours.