Millions of people are waking up spiritually throughout the world and it is becoming more and more commonplace to hear news of this. For the first year or so of my Awakening, I had no idea what was happening to my brain and perception.
I though that either I was going crazy or that I had something medically wrong with me. It took some time and a lot of reading to realize that in fact, my Atheism was coming to an end. I was waking up to a spirituality which permeates nature that I had never felt before.
Looking back, it was a real kick in the ass going from Atheist to Agnostic, but it gets easier as I settle in to this new way of thinking, being, and appreciating.
I thought I would share a couple of thought exercises (or meditations) which have helped me to gain a better insight into nature and the spirit of nature (which we are all a part of). These can also be thought of as experiments to sharpen your imagination and to understand the fundamental relationship between all things.
Keep in mind, I have no real training in this, but these practices have helped me along the way. So, give them a shot. All you need is your imagination!
1. Pretend That Coincidences DO NOT Exist
This thought experiment came to me after I researched a little bit about synchronicities. A synchronicity to me, is a coincidence that happens during your day which leads you in a direction that you did not even consider before.
Some people experience this in the form of a deja vu, also. When I was a full fledged Atheist, this sounded like a ridiculous idea to me. It reeked of divine intervention and a repression of free will. I thought I would test this by using my imagination. There is no harm in pretending something, is there?
I took a day, and said, “OK, today I am going to pretend there is no such thing as coincidence and follow whatever the newly coined “synchronicities” point towards.” For that day, I walked around and studied my surroundings with an open mind to coincidence instead of being wrapped up in my own thoughts.
This is an exercise which can be difficult if taken too seriously. I like to bridge the gap for people who have no experience with this type of phenomenon (like I was not so long ago). Imagining and pretending are great ways to test the waters and explore your own mind and surroundings.
Some things to be open and watchful for during this pretend time are coincidences which answer a problem that you are thinking about, or have recently thought about. Be open to all of your surroundings. Synchronicities may be found from the radio, something that pops up online, an overheard conversation, or pretty much anything that you can see or hear.
As you allow yourself to believe, or pretend to believe in synchronicity, follow the guidance that you hear, trust your instincts and act on the info coming in. As I did this, more and more synchronicities revealed themselves and fed on the last ones which led to a path of actions through the day.
2. Rejecting the Labels of Objects in Nature
This next “pretending, imagination exercise” is one that can be done outside very easily. The human mind can get overwhelmed and clouded when it feels the need to label and categorize every little thing that is seen.
We look over there and see a boring oak tree, or look there and see a daisy flower, then move on to the next thing that we have identified. In this little meditation, I like to observe various things in nature without their labels.
Many spiritual teachings have some sort of variation on this theme. In my case, I love studying the fractal nature of reality. When you strip away the labels and categories of everything that you see in nature, the fractal patterns become much more apparent.
Fractals are simple shapes which are iterated (or repeated) within themselves. You may be asking what this has to do with this exercise, but let me use an example of the oak tree again. Usually we pass by an oak tree and either don’t think about it or focus on the birds in the tree, an animal, or maybe something stuck in the tree.
When we strip away all labels of language that we have placed around this event of observing the tree, we see the obvious fractal nature of it. The branches are large towards the bottom, and the branches up higher are smaller, fractal expressions of these larger branches.
Each individual leaf makes up groups of leaves that appear similar to it. If you want to really dive into the fractal nature of this tree, you can ponder the fact that trees are similar in structure to the small alveoli which line all of our lungs.
The common fractal structure of trees and the small branches in lungs is significant because they are both serving to exchange gases. They are acting as negative expressions of each other. Lungs take in oxygen gas and expel carbon dioxide waste. The similar structure of the tree takes in carbon dioxide and produces oxygen, so it is no surprise that they are similar in structure.
If this is a difficult idea to wrap your head around, you can always utilize some parts of the first exercise and do some pretending/ imagining to help you along.
3. Pretend That You are Wandering Around an Alien Planet
As you practice the first two exercises over time, it may seem that you are already walking around an alien planet! This exercise is pretty self explanatory and might be one to keep to yourself at first!
Basically, as you are walking around outside, make believe that you have just landed on a new planet and are an explorer for humanity. This can also be done in conjunction with the second exercise where you strip away the labels of all that you see.
Notice the strange detail of the plants and animals. Imagine that you are trying to get mental images of all the diverse creatures that you see and hear. As you are pretending this, labels will drop away and it should be easier to experience natural things in the present moment here and now. Realize that everything you are interacting with has taken much time to evolve and grow.
A way to connect to humanity with this is to appreciate the integration of the buildings with the surrounding natural objects. Man is part of nature, so whether you like it or not, everything that we make and do to the environment is natural as well.
The best part about these exercises is that they cost nothing for you to do. Free is a good thing. Also, no one has to know what you are doing, in case you are scared of being carted off in a straight jacket if you start rambling about coincidences and alien planets!
Some of the outcomes that I have found from these practices is to appreciate the diversity, beauty and stillness that persists in nature on our wonderful homeworld. I hope this helps you further or begin your spiritual awakening. You imagination is the most potent tool you have in these times.