Dia harmony natureImagine having instant access to the greatest source of wisdom of all; combining the insights of every philosopher, book, class and spiritual tradition ever. You DO! It’s all written in nature. And nature is the craftiest teacher ever. Nature doesn’t TELL you anything. It SHOWS you the truth. In nature there is no distinction between classroom and playground. The more you pay attention, the more you realize that you are never NOT in class, never not learning, always growing, always becoming more of your own true nature just by showing up.

On January 21, I’m offering a free video class through the awesome en*theos Academy on the wisdom of nature. I can’t wait! As I prepared for the class, I realized that this is the heart and soul of the way I see the world, and I’m super excited to share it. The class will point you to the powerful wisdom of nature which is available to you at all times.

Click on this link to find our more about the free video class. ( https://www.entheos.com/academy/classes/learn-from-natures-wisdom?c=5303 )

There is one prerequisite to studying Nature 101. You don’t learn FROM nature. You learn IN nature. You don’t learn ABOUT nature. You experience nature. You’re not separate from nature. You’re PART of nature. Nature is the ultimate experiential class. The following ten truths of nature are only the tip of the iceberg of what we learn in nature. It all starts from the realization that we are ALL pagan. I’m not talking about anything magical or ritualistic. The word pagan means “a person of the land.” In the true sense of the word we are ALL pagan. The more we own this truth, live the wisdom of nature, and feel our connection to nature, the better it is for us and the better it is for the planet.

walk with nature

Here are ten of nature’s juiciest wisdom nuggets.

1.       Nature Teaches Unconditional Generosity

The Sufi mystic Hafiz said, “Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.”

Nature gives and it never expects anything in return. And it doesn’t give half heartedly. It gives lavishly; gives life, gives joy, gives wisdom and it asks for no payback. Even when humans decimate her resources, nature keeps finding new ways of giving.

Even if we practiced a fraction of the generosity of nature, imagine how different the world would be. Look what would happen with a love like that; it would light up the world with kindness.

sunrise steps long

2.       Nature Teaches Perfect Peace

American author Wendell Berry said, “When despair for the world grows in you and you wake in the night at the least sound, in fear of what your life and your children’s lives may be, go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. Come into the peace of wild things that do not trouble their lives with forethought of grief. Come into the presence of still water and feel above you the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, rest in the grace of the world.”

The Buddha once gave a talk with no words. He simply stood holding a single flower, gazing at it in adoration and holding it out for the audience to enjoy. He later said to the group, “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” It is said that one person became enlightened that day just from looking at the flower. Transformation starts with awareness; pure awareness that comes before opinions and ideas, judgment and thought.

If you pay attention wherever you are, the way nature honors the moment, you find all you need. There is nothing to fear, nothing to prove, nothing to achieve, nowhere else to be. Learn from nature; be at peace with what is. After awareness, comes acceptance. Then comes action. Nature teaches all three.

single flower

3.       Nature Teaches The Power of Flow

So much of our suffering comes from expecting life to move in a straight line when nature shows us that life moves in swirls and spirals. When we can get into the flow of nature, we can end so much of the pain of disappointment and regret.

It’s like the old story about a woman who accidentally fell into some river rapids leading to a high and dangerous waterfall. Onlookers feared for her life. Miraculously, she came out alive and unharmed downstream at the bottom of the falls. She was asked how she managed to survive. This was her answer- “I accommodated myself to the water, not the water to me. Without thinking, I allowed myself to be shaped by it. Plunging into the swirl, I came out with the swirl. This is how I survived. I became one with the water’s movement.”

Learn from water. Be like water. The Tao te Ching says- “Nothing in the world is more receptive and yielding than water. Yet at the same time, nothing can equal it in reshaping the inflexible and eroding the hard.”

waterfall logs

4.       Nature Teaches Effortless Effort

Nature never fails to achieve its purpose and it’s not afraid to struggle for growth. The oldest known organism on Earth is the bristlecone pine, which can live over 5,000 years. Gnarled and seemingly only half-alive, they grow near treeline in the super harsh alpine environments of the Rockies and Sierra, with extreme conditions almost year round. Struggle is the foundation of nature’s vitality. But nature doesn’t struggle with struggle the way we do.

And nature doesn’t use any more effort than is needed. As Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.”

This is an important lesson to learn. Stop spinning. Just like the flowers, your most beautiful creations will often come from a place of effortless flow. And if it’s a struggle, don’t struggle with the struggle. Just let it flow.

George Carlin once said, “I like it when a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so ______ heroic.” Learn creative and playful persistence from the tuft of grass that refuses to be kept down, growing against all odds. A verse in the Talmud says, “Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow! Grow!”

Grow like a blade of grass, slow and steady. Persevere the same way a leaf falls to the ground; back and forth, two steps forward and one step back. Learn about growth and perseverance from nature.

Click on this link to find our more about the free video class. ( https://www.entheos.com/academy/classes/learn-from-natures-wisdom?c=5303 )

flower in concrete

5.       Nature Teaches Humility

The Japanese tea master Rikyu built a teahouse on the side of a hill overlooking the sea. Three guests arrived, expecting to see an amazing ocean panorama. When they arrived, they were disappointed to find that the view was completely blocked by trees. They stopped at the entrance to wash at the traditional water basin. As they bent down to draw water with a bamboo ladle, they noticed an opening in the trees that could only be seen from the stooped position. In the humble posture of the bow, with water flowing from ladle to hands, they were greeted by the most spectacular view of the ocean. In gratitude and humility, they celebrated the connection between the flowing basin of water and the ocean. They knew they were not separate or above nature.

Some wisdom can only be realized from a place of humility. Nature teaches the power of humility. When you approach life with humble reverence, you discover the most amazing connections that left to its own devices, the human ego will bypass or explain away.

einstein nature

6.       Nature Teaches Abundance

Nature is unselfconsciously expressive and limitlessly creative and yet is also perfectly efficient; it uses exactly what it needs – no more and no less and doesn’t waste or horde without reason. One of the biggest traps of the ego is the illusion of MORE. Nature shows us that abundance is about enough, not more. When you come to the realization that you are enough, then what you have is enough and what you do is enough, and you find that abundance is more about peace than prosperity.

Bourke Coekran said, “There is enough for all. The earth is a generous mother, she will provide in plentiful abundance food for all her children if they will but cultivate her soil in justice and peace.” Abundance, combined with compassion and respect, is the solution to so many of the world’s problems.

enough abundance

 7.       Nature Teaches Healthy Change

I didn’t know what seasons were until I moved to Michigan. In Michigan, there is a collective hunkering down in winter followed by a collective sigh of relief once spring comes. People lap up every day of summer like it’s a precious gift. Living in a diverse climate helped me understand change. It strengthened me to endure the cold and helped me appreciate the warm. In short, it helped me trust cycles.

Nature respects cycles, doesn’t rush or force them. Cycles are a part of life; cycles of moods, seasonal cycles, and cycles of birth and death. Nature offers no resistance to them. Leaves fall, wither, and nourish the soil and new growth rises up in their place.

The lesson of change is that nothing lasts. All things change. Nature teaches us to allow the cycles to happen and stop fighting them because even death and loss allow life to flourish.

4 seasons_of_life

8.       Nature Teaches the Balance of Unity/ Diversity

Nature is incredibly diverse and complex. As Heraclitus said, “You can’t step into the same river twice” and you never see the same view twice. The sensual diversity of nature is breathtaking. And yet there is an incredible unity to all the diversity. Gaia is the Greek word for Mother Earth.  The Gaia Hypothesis basically says that the earth is one living organism.  Take the amazing Californian redwood tree as an example. They stand up to 300 feet tall and weigh up to 2,000 tons.   Some of them are up to 3,000 years old. The incredible thing about these awesome giants is that 97% of the tree is dead.  The wood of the trunk and the bark that encases the tree are dead and there is only a thin layer of living organisms that are necessary for the exchange of gases. The thin layer is encased by bark to protect it.  By virtue of the 3% of living matter the whole tree is alive. You can’t separate one part from the rest; the living from the dead.

The majority of our world is not living. Yet by virtue of those small parts of the world that are living the whole earth is alive.  Nature is one living organism, intricately and beautifully connected.  This is such a powerful lesson to learn. Life is SO diverse and yet there is an incredible unity to it all.

Click on this link to find our more about the free video class. ( https://www.entheos.com/academy/classes/learn-from-natures-wisdom?c=5303 )

redwoods

9.       Nature Teaches Us How To Heal

Natalie Goldberg said, “Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.”

Excesses of stress kill, whether it’s a polluted river or toxic bloodstream. Nature reminds you that your true nature is one of peace and ease. There are things, both genetic and lifestyle choices that take you out of this natural ease, but the beginning of healing is to come back to your peaceful nature, respond to every situation with decisive clarity and stop adding stress to illness.

There are so many things happening around you, but nature reminds you that they all take place within an inner framework of stillness. Stillness is the foundation on which all activity, healing, peace and purpose takes place. Let nature remind you of the stillness in the gaps between noise, the space between notes where music is created, and stress will not get the better of you.

natural healers

10. Nature Teaches Progress

The evolutionary story teaches the nature of progress. When you understand yourself as created out of stardust and when you discover that our sun is earth’s closest star but still 90 million miles away, bulbs light up in your mind. We are part of an endlessly unfinished symphony. Every breath, every movement, every meal, every song, is all a result of our sun’s evolution.

Nature’s timeless wisdom is mind blowing. Everything is always becoming, and there is always more. No matter what scars life has left on your life, you can always, always start over again like a rising sun. No matter how it feels, you are not alone. The nighttime coliseum of stars is your family tree. Join the dots on your awesome connections all the way back. Look again and you are sure to see something new and beautiful each time. The stars look closer than they are, reminding you that the inner light that shines your path is nearer and more accessible than you imagine.

Nature’s inspiration takes you beyond yourself in mystery and wonder, and brings you back to yourself in awareness and growth. Like nature, growth happens inch by inch, and yet as a whole story, the progress is mind blowing.

Click on this link to find our more about the free video class. ( https://www.entheos.com/academy/classes/learn-from-natures-wisdom?c=5303 )

growing flower

Subscribe to Grapevine Back to Grapevine page

  1. Bhanurekha says:

    Hi Ian!This is an amazing write-up.  It just fills you up with so much of light and energy!!Thank you  and God bless you.

  2. Victor says:

    As one who loves to hike in the great outdoors, I salute you for such a wonderful piece, Ian.  And to think, this is timeless wisdom that spoke to our ancestors and will speak to our descendants.  Peace!