For the past ten years or so, on most nights, whenever I shut my eyes to go to sleep, I would get a vision of plants – a forest, a tree or a potted plant. I would get a zoom-in as the leaves come into sharp focus, before the whole vision fades out, leaving me as perplexed and as clueless about its significance as the night before.
I’d never really thought of myself as the ‘environmental type’, yet the nightly visions pointed to a certain role I am to play in the environment. I’m still unsure as to what that is but since moving my base to a natural setting I feel more and more connected to the elemental spirits.
Now that I think about it, as a child I loved being in nature. My favourite pastimes were activities that immersed me in the world of nature. I loved going deep into bougainvillea shrubs and feeling right at home in a world painted by the colours, lights, textures and scents of nature. I loved dragonflies, they seemed to be gentle mythical creatures that graced our garden with their ethereal presence. I found great joy in collecting plant specimens from the garden and then pretending to make potions out of them. I remember using a small blade and slicing up tiny roots – an activity I performed with great focus and mindfulness – and scattering petals onto the fish pond. Such simple pleasures which put me in a carefree, serene space.
Somehow, that had all been forgotten when I grew up and got caught up in city living. I now know that what was missing in my spiritual practice is a strong connection to the environment. The link between spirituality and environmentalism is something which I’m just beginning to understand.
In recent weeks, I’ve been guided to connect more to the spirits of nature. Where I am, there’s a powerful spiritual presence among the land on which the centre is built. The local staff who come from this area have a deep respect and reverence to the spirits who guard and protect this land. Through a Buddhist monk from the area, we were told that there’s some karmic energies that are being worked off, with the kind of work that we do, which has been recognised by the deities as spiritually meaningful (alleviating suffering for the clients who do the programme with us). The spirits are reassuring us that we’re doing good and as such we’re being supported.
Today, we had a Buddhist ceremony at our premise to formally seek the blessings of the spirits for the work that we’re doing in the centre. It was a beautiful ritual consisting of nine monks chanting and infusing protective powers into an idol of Buddha which now sits in our reception area. During the ceremony, I was deeply-moved, humbled and in reverence as I was being reminded of my ‘spiritual mandate’. A great moment of my ego dissolving, leaving me feeling cleansed and pure. Very powerful.
I received a strong message that we never really own a piece of land, even if we do so on paper – that we are merely guardians of the land. This extended to a feeling of deepening into the realms of the elemental energies that form the basic structure of our environment. In that realm, I felt my consciousness merge with the greater whole and a sense of perfection in all that exists.