Friday, February 23, 2007

Nature-guided Therapy

From my visit to Sedona, AZ November 2004

Native Americans believe that everything in nature has a spirit, an essence that lives in it. If we look up the word “Nature” in the dictionary, it literally means essence. If you look up “Spirit” in the dictionary, it literally means, ‘the essence or nature of something’.

I think of this as I sit near the mouth of Boynton Canyon in Sedona, Arizona and admire the rain and wind-sculpted red cliffs that surround me. One looks sort of like and old Irishman with derby cap and all. Another resembles a large cave-like hand high above as if reaching out to grasp something. At some point I realize that the cliffs are showing me not what the weather has sculpted but the actual essence within them. I wonder if the spirit within the mountains are simply showing who they are. (There is even one in Sedona that looks like ‘Snoopy’ laying on his back.)

This is their story:
“The rain drop does not choose which way it will run down the wall of the mountain, sculpting it over time. Rather it is the essence of the mountain itself that determines which way it will allow the rain drop to fall and shape it. The weather of your life (your life experiences) does not determine or create who you are. It is the core of your Being that decides not only which way experiences sculpt it, but also which experiences it chooses to use to do the sculpting.”

It is like the painter choosing which colors to put on his canvas based on what image he wants to create. If you have ever noticed with paintings, each artist’s work has a distinct feel or concept which comes through. We can say, oh that must be so and so’s painting because it looks like their work. We become familiar with the expression on the canvas and identify it with the artist’s expression of who they are. The painter is not the canvas nor the image. The painter, like the spirits of nature, is the essence or core that paints and sculpts to express what it is.

We can also view the interaction between the rain drop and the mountain, both as spirits, essences. The interplay expresses both while at the same time effecting both, changing both. Sort of a dance of essence with essence, spirit with spirit. But even in this, the true Being of each determines the interplay. Like dance partners, we choose which one we want to dance with in order to learn different steps and thus experience ourselves and our lives in different ways.

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