For living life in general, and especially for a charged and energized spiritual practice, we need inspiration. We also need encouragement, reassurance, and reminders of ways to be in the world that are good for us and good for others too.
Today we’ll turn to Mother Earth for wisdom. We are blessed to have the earth as one of our mothers. She holds, feeds, and shelters us with beauty, power, and generosity and we have much to learn from her.
Patience - there is a deep rest to be had when we stand in nature. Here we can find our breath, our presence, and that helps us slow down to the speed of patience. Patience is also one of the key elements of trust which is essential for a deep and meaningful life. Patience is also the practice of loving kindness, forgiveness, and empowerment.
Rhythm - sunrise and sunset, the seasons, and the turning of the earth are examples the rhythms of nature. They are dependable and we build our life around them. They make us feel safe and secure and we draw strength from that. Establishing rhythms in our own life is a key to wellness and spirituality. When we feel safe we help others feel safe too.
Beauty - who can contest the beauty of nature? Krishna tells us in the Bhagavad-gita to find Him in the splendor and opulence of the natural world (chapters 7 and 10). Who has not been nourished by a beautiful sunrise, majestic mountains, a glistening river? The experiences are endless. We can allow the beauty of nature to spill into our houses and lives by opening the doors and windows, listening to the rain, growing flowers, breathing the early morning fresh air and marveling at the quiet beauty of the stars. It really works wonders on our souls.
Change - the earth is abundant with life and life means change. Birth, growth, byproducts, disease, old age, death - the cycles of life in nature mirror our own. Something is always happening! Yet the unchanging self is within our body and all of nature! As we observe change we can also remember the changeless--both us as a soul and Krishna.
Shelter - In the Srimad-Bhagavatam is says, sarva-kama dugha mahi: the earth provides all necessities. As the earth cares and provides for us in unendingly generous ways, we can learn how to give and receive shelter to and from others, including the Lord, by practicing unconditional expressions of giving and receiving. The poet Hafiz says it well, “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.”
More than anything else the earth reminds us that life is all about relationships. It’s not about me and you - it’s about us, all of us who live and move and breath on the earth. Krishna, the world, and us. That balance, these relationships, are at the heart of the practice of Bhakti Yoga.