Gratitude for Nature

by watching you see how the plants and birds work together

Reflecting on the words of Miriam Rose about dadirri, deep insightful connection to the land, I found this quote from Jack Kornfield. Jack and co-author Joseph Goldstein write* about the practice of gratitude. A deeply felt sense of gratitude, love and mindfulness comes with an understanding of our connectedness to all of life. This is the experience of indigenous peoples everywhere, lost only to us busy modern industrialised people who have forgotten our relationship with the Earth.

A number of years ago the Menninger Foundation sponsored a conference at which Mad Bear, an Iroquois medicine man, spoke. After several days of meetings at which scientific papers were presented, it was his turn. He said, ‘For my presentation I’d like us to begin by going outside.’ Everyone followed him outside to an open field, and he asked us all to stand silently in a circle. We stood for a while in silence under a wide open sky, surrounded by fields of grain stretching to the horizon. Mad Bear then began to speak, offering a prayer of gratitude. He thanked the earthworms for aerating the soil so that plants can grow. He thanked the grasses that cover the earth for keeping the dust from blowing, for cushioning our steps, and for showing our eyes the greenness and beauty of their life. He thanked the wind for bringing rain, for cleaning the air, for giving us the life-breath that connects us with all beings. He spoke in this way for nearly an hour, and as we listened our mindfulness grew with each prayer. We felt the wind on our faces and the earth beneath our feet, and we saw the grass and clouds, all with a sense of connectedness, gratitude, and love.”

After listening to Miriam Rose yesterday I went out and spent time with my land, I noticed a plant that had been covered by debris from weeding the pond, so I cleared it and felt the relief of the plant. Then I wandered along the bank of the dam, listening to birds singing loudly as they hopped and flew through the thick flowering shrubs, some courting, some feeding on insects. I kept very still so they came close! Brilliant New Holland Honeyeaters, sweet Silvereyes, Scarlet Honeyeater, Superb Fairy Wren, Redbrowed Firetail Finch, Brown Thornbill and others; my heart was bursting with love and gratitude. The song of the honeyeaters was so rich and melodious, it filled me with joy.

Here are a few of my bird photos, sadly only the New Holland Honeyeaters, who are always there near their nests in the prickly Hakea. Although I saw the Scarlet Honeyeater twice again today it was too quick for me!

New Holland Honeyeater on Callistemon rigidis

New Holland Honeyeater on Grevillea

the Scarlet Honeyeater sat here for a millisecond...too fast for me!

Yes, take time to be with your land, let all your senses take notice, a powerful spiritual practice indeed.

*from Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield

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