THE NATURE OF US
In The Great Work, Thomas Berry speaks of the intimacy the indigenous people had with the land. Each part of nature was experienced as a personal other. And he writes of the alluring nature of wild beauty:
Only if the human imagination is activated by the flight of the great soaring birds to the heavens, by the blossoming flowers of the Earth, by the sight of the sea, by the lightning and thunder of the great storms that break through the heat of the summer, only then will the deep inner experiences be evoked through the human soul.
I have always been drawn to the beauty of nature, lured deeper into the land and its mysteries though the textures and luminous presence of beauty. The majesty of the land was the deciding factor for me in choosing a college, and later in making my way across the country to the mountains of Colorado and eventually to the lush terrain of northern California.
Beauty has nourished me, never failing to soothe and comfort as my eyes gaze over an undulating landscape, follow the flight of a soaring hawk, or rest in the peace of a snowy night. By delving into our own bodies, we forge a link to the aliveness within matter which the indigenous people experienced. As I have deepened in my own exploration of my body over the decades, my experience of the numinous presence within the living landscape surrounding me has also grown. I feel each tree, each plant, each breath of the wind as the beautiful other. The more tangible my own inner landscape becomes as sacred matter, as I feel my blood flowing in distinct contrast to the cells of my bones, or the fluidity of my organs floating in the sea of my torso – the more intimately I know the living earth as well.
In the Navajo Walk in Beauty Prayer there is a line the world is restored in Beauty. This recognition of the earth as sacred is the return of beauty to the world, our own recognition that beauty resides in matter. Our embrace of our own cells, of our cellular world as sacred body, is the emergence of the feminine that we have been awaiting. The tangible return of this worldview restores beauty and nourishment to our parched cells, awakening the luscious presence of beauty sleeping in matter, reviving our bodies and the earth. The world is restored in Beauty. Every living being in our external landscape is sacred. Our bodies are sacred. All our relations are sacred.
James Hillman writes of the necessity of beauty for our moment in time in The Practice of Beauty – from the anthology Uncontrollable Beauty:
We want the world because it is beautiful, its sounds and smells and textures, the sensate presence of the world as body. In short, below the ecological crisis lies the deeper crisis of love, that our love has left the world. That the world is loveless results directly from the repression of beauty, its beauty and our sensitivity to beauty. For love to return to the world, beauty must first return, else we love the world only as moral duty . . . .
Beauty is alluring mystery and the eternal made visible. Sacred patterns, symmetry, and luminosity emerge – both through our own bodies as graceful motion and radiance – and in the flora and fauna that surround us. Intimacy with the planet in its wonder and beauty and the full depth of its meaning is what enables an integral human relationship with the planet to function, writes Thomas Berry.
Inspired initially by the Mother’s (Mirra Alfassa) cellular exploration, documented in Satprem’s The Mind of the Cells, I learned to communicate with the luminous intelligence of my cells. I experience the cells communicating with me as well, we are in an ever evolving relationship through a daily unspoken conversation. In the same way I have entered into ongoing communication with the land, the ocean surrounding me, the tree in front of my home, the raven landing on the fence, the moon in the sky and Mount Tamalpais towering to the east. I am in a personal and intimate relationship as a part of this great Mother Earth, embedded in the living universe, in communion with the wild presence animating us all.
In 2009 I wrote the following in my journal:
I was feeling increasingly ungrounded. Rather than just ground into the earth vertically, the idea came to ground into the land mass of Marin county. I spread out horizontally through the land, feeling the bay and ocean around me. All of a sudden I found Mt. Tamalpais rising inside me, from my pelvis through my heart. I had never felt so absolutely solid and powerful. For years I had walked around the mountain, hiking the hills and lakes below – now she rose within me and I was stunned.
As suddenly as the mountain arose, she disappeared. A potent reminder of my true body – extending through the earth, oceans and stars, extending to infinity, endlessly powerful, creative, and beautiful. I need only walk outside to submerge myself in the beauty, and if I want to connect more deeply, I lay on the land or immerse myself in water.
Embodiment, the ever-deepening process of living through the body, connects us in an awakened and living communion, an ongoing dance of continually shifting patterns – rhythms – captivating and drawing us deeper through their luminous beauty. Rooted in our true nature through our bodies, we dance in a living landscape together with all our relations, nourished, held, strengthened by the beauty all around and in us.
Thank you for joining me here today! I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience in the comments!
One note: that is not Mt Tam in the first photo, it is an outcropping in Boulder, Colorado where I have lived in the past.
Embodiment, self-discovery, presence, love, connecting with the earth and finding sanity in these times — the website for my work is sabrinapage.com – come explore more through private sessions on zoom or in person.
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The Nature of Us – Sabrina Page has an MA in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, a background in movement and dance, focused on embodiment. She has been deeply influenced by her connection with nature, shaped by playing in woods and water growing up. Sabrina’s writing explores the earth community, love, body, embodiment, interconnection, our planetary moment, music – and the creativity and possibilities inherent in being human.