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It has been unseasonably warm this past week so I have happily been able to spend much more time outdoors. This has been a rare treat as I do miss the long hours of being fully immersed in the natural world. This week, while the temperatures were well above zero degrees (C), I couldn’t resist taking the camera out for a walk and taking time to once again, look closely at the profound beauty of our natural world.

Everything, a bird, a tree, a simple stone, and certainly a human being, is ultimately unknowable ~Eckhart Tolle

In his book, A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle writes about ‘mental labels’ and our human tendency to label objects around us. Once we know the ‘name’ of something, we immediately stop inquiring about it and, instead, we fall under the illusion that we know all there is to know about that object. This often prevents us from fully experiencing the awesome beauty, wonder and mystery of life.

The quicker you are in attaching verbal or mental labels to things, people, or situations, the more shallow and lifeless your reality becomes, and the more deadened you become to reality, the miracle of life that continuously unfolds within and around you. ~Eckhart Tolle

When you look at it or hold it and let it be without imposing a word or mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arrives within you.~Eckhart Tolle

The other day I was watching some birds at the feeder outside the window. As an exercise, I deliberately refrained from labeling anything. For example, instead of thinking: “That’s a bird sitting on a branch eating a berry…”, I reminded myself that everything is ultimately connected (We are One). To keep my mind busy, I thought, “That is Oneness, sitting on Oneness eating Oneness…” Looking at the bird in this way, and with a truly inquisitive mind, I was able to see it fresh and new, as though for the very first time. As I continued to observe and be fully open to the experience, the little bird suddenly cocked its head and I found this simple movement so profoundly beautiful that I began to weep.

To help me refrain from labeling and thus experience my reality more spontaneously and with wonder, I sometime focus on the experience of the ‘architecture’ or the texture of an object. Sometimes I use my imagination to try to experience the object as though I were the size of an ant…

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. ~Bhudda

Nature has no desire to be anything than what it is. When you are able to experience nature unspoiled by human intervention, you can feel the depth of peace and harmony in its expression. You will be awed by the complex interworking of nature to support itself and to provide for a multitude of life. ~William Lovett

Nature has no beliefs or no reason to desire anything outside of itself. Nature has so much to teach us about simplicity in action. It is the awareness of unity consciousness that nature can teach if you can be open to it. Sit with nature whenever possible and let the silence become your experience. This silence is your portal to the awareness that you seek. When you can quiet the mind your connection to nature will develop. Your spirit and the unity that nature represents will dance together expanding your awareness more than ever before. ~William Lovett

I often find that it is when I remove my preconceived notions about what I expect to discover both in nature and in everyday life, that I immediately expand the scope of possibility from limited to limitless, and I become completely open to being surprised.

In nature there are no static and stable “things”; there are only ever-changing, ever-moving processes. Rain is a good example to illustrate this point. Though we use a noun called “rain” which appears to denote a “thing,” rain is nothing but the process of drops of water falling from the skies. Apart from this process, the activity of raining, there is no rain as such which could be expressed by a seemingly static nominal concept. The very elements of solidity(pathavi), liquidity (apo), heat (tejo) and mobility (vayo), recognized as the building material of nature, are all ever-changing phenomena. Even the most solid looking mountains and the very earth that supports everything on it are not beyond this inexorable law of change.~Lily de Silva

I couldn’t resist adding this irreverent picture of Lucy, engaged in what looks to be a highly enjoyable activity: paws straight up in the air, rolling in some pungent animal essence. This girl is my greatest teacher, daily demonstrating how to fully embrace life and live in the present moment each minute of the day. This teacher always knows how to put a smile on my face!