A Journey Through Presence

A Journey Through Presence

For a week in January, I travelled the same country road in the Kamloops area. It is called Rose Hill Road, and it wanders through grasslands, and then through forests before it descends into river valley. I like this road for its quietude, wildlife and landscape. My awareness becomes acute to the subtleties of nature and I relax and revel in simple discoveries.

My journey is a great way to let go and “become presence as described by David Abram in his book, ‘The Spell of the Sensuous’. David Abram explores the research of time and space by past phenomenologists and the lack of distinction of time and space according to indigenous cultures.

David Abram wrote,
When I allow the past and future to dissolve, imaginatively, into the immediacy of the present moment, then the “present” itself expands to become an enveloping field of presence. And this presence, vibrant and alive, spontaneously assumes the precise shape and contour of the enveloping sensory landscape, as though this were its native shape! It is this remarkable fit between temporal concept (the “present”) and spatial precept ( the enveloping presence of the land) that accounts, I believe, for the relatively stable and solid nature of this experience, and that prompts me to wonder whether “time “and “space” are really as distinct as I was taught to believe? " pg 203- 204

Abram states,
The sensorial landscape, in other words, not only opens onto that distant future waiting beyond the horizon but also onto a near future, onto an imminent field of possibilities waiting behind each tree, behind each stone, behind each leaf from whence a spider may at any moment come crawling into our awareness. And this living terrain is supported not only by that more settled or sedimented past under the ground, but by an imminent past resting inside each tree, within each blade of grass, within the very muscles and cells of our own bodies. " Pg 215

As well,
It is evident, however, that when our awareness of time is joined with our awareness of space, space itself is transformed. Space is no longer experienced as a homogeneous void, but reveals itself as this vast and richly textured field in which we are corporeally immersed, this vibrant expanse structured by both a ground and a horizon. It is precisely the ground and the horizon that transform abstract space into space-time. And these characteristics—the ground and the horizon—are granted to us only by the earth. Thus, when we let time and space blend into a unified space-time, we rediscover the enveloping earth. " Pg 216

It would seem, then, that the conceptual separation of time and space—the literate distinction between a linear, progressive time and a homogeneous, featureless space- functions to eclipse the enveloping earth from human awareness. As long as we structure our lives according to assumed parameters of a static space and a rectilinear time, we will be able to ignore, or overlook, our thorough dependence upon the earth around us. Only when space and time are reconciled into a single, unified field of phenomena does the encompassing earth become evident, once again, in all its power and its depth, as the very ground and horizon of all our knowing. Pg217
The Spell Of The Sensuous by David Abram 1996

In what ways can we mindfully blend or integrate
presencewherever we may be or doing today
in the office, car, housework or while just waiting?

When you experience “presence” what do, you notice?

The Reciprocity of Nature

The Reciprocity of Nature

I walked in darkness towards the waning full moon. As every morning except Sundays, I wake and must get out the door by 6:30 am to deliver newspapers on my street. I choose to do this for exercise, as it is only 21 papers, except for 40 twice a week.
In the winter darkness, my thoughts are more of a slumbering trance. This morning my worries were spewing out and I walked right by one of my customers and I would have to stop there on my way back. When the slumbering trance persists, I have to become a conscious witness to my train of thought and pull myself back into the present moment. First for safety to notice the icy patches and as well as to make sure I deliver the papers properly. I slipped into the slumber trance again, so I decided to give myself until the end of the block to release my concerns in the moonlight.
Then as I turned around to head back home, I decided to do a mindfulness activity with my physical surroundings. The quickest way to begin is to focus on my breathing as I notice whatever attracts my attention in nature. The silhouette of the mountains and hills promised a clear sky in the east as the stars dimmed.

I decided to focus on the neighbourhood tree silhouettes and sense their aliveness despite their dormancy. I imagined their root systems to complete my awareness of their growing and lively energy. This mindfulness vision is interesting because it somehow excites my brain and then I have to turn off the mind chatter and stay focused on just the visual sense of the root systems. This makes me sense gravity and I feel grounded and connected to my neighbourhood. Sensing the roots feels mysterious and makes me aware that the shape of tree above and below is balanced. I feel more connected to the moment and the slumbering thoughts have shifted and left.
Soon I will be done with these dark insular winter walks. Then as the daylight comes earlier, I look forward to the sun rising and spilling glorious sunshine into my eyes! With this, the earth seems to awaken and there is visible growth to notice.

Two of Eight principles of Ecopsychology
as described by Theodore Roszak are ;

3.“Just as it has been the goal of previous therapies to recover the repressed contents of the unconscious, so the goal of ecopsychology is to awaken the inherent sense of environmental reciprocity that lies within the ecological unconscious. Other therapies seek to heal the alienation between person and person, person and family, person and society. Ecopsychology seeks to heal the more fundamental alienation between the person and the natural environment.”

Another principal is;

8.“Ecopsychology holds that there is a synergistic interplay between planetary and personal well-being. The term”synergy” is chosen deliberately for its traditional theological connotation, which once taught that the human and divine are cooperatively linked in the quest for salvation. The contemporary ecological translation of the term might be: the needs of the planet are the needs of the person, the rights of the person are the rights of the planet.”

Pg320 &321 by Theodore Roszak in his book, ‘The Voice Of The Earth’ 1992 &2001

Hidden Harmony ~ The Sacredness of the Forest

“The mind is more comfortable in a landscaped park because it has been planned through thought; it has not grown organically. There is an order here that the mind can understand. In the forest, there is an incomprehensible order that to the mind looks like chaos. It is beyond the mental categories of good and bad. You cannot understand it through thought, but you can sense it when you let go of thought become still and alert and don’t try to understand or explain. Only then can you be aware of the sacredness of the forest. As soon as you sense that hidden harmony, that sacredness, you realize you are not separate from it, and when you realize that, you become a conscious participant in it. In this way, nature can help you become realigned with the wholeness of life.”

Eckhart Tolle ~ Oneness With All Life Treasury Edition – Inspirational Selections from A New Earth 2008

Is there a special place where you can let go
and become still and alert to feel
a sense of connection to nature?
Perhaps it is not a forest.
Perhaps it that same sense of stillness
and heightened awareness
when you pause to look at flowers or rocks.
What are you naturally attracted to?