Last week I received an email informing me that I was a finalist in an outdoor photography contest, and that they needed the high-resolution image file along with some other information. Included in this, was the question: why is nature important? Of course I know why nature is important to me, but I pondered the question further as I was driving up Haleakala to go backpacking overnight at Holua camp, inside the crater. I was having this overnight getaway primarily for what nature offers me, peace and solitude. As I made the couple hour drive to the trail head, I listened to Eckhart Tolle’s Stillness Speaks, and my thoughts went back to this question when Eckhart spoke about nature, as one of his topics. Here are some of his thoughts, that resonated deeply with me:
“We depend on nature for not only our physical survival, we also need nature to show us the way home, the way out of the prison of our own minds. We got lost in doing, thinking, remembering, anticipating – lost in a maze of complexity and a world of problems. We have forgotten what rocks, plants and animals still know. We have forgotten how to be. To be still. To be ourselves. To be where life is – here and now.
“Whenever you bring your attention to anything natural, anything that has come into existence without human intervention, you step out of the prison of conceptualized thinking and to some extent, participate in the state of connectedness with being in which everything natural still exists. To bring your attention to a stone, a tree, or an animal does not mean to think about it, but simply to perceive it, to hold it in your awareness. Something of its essence then transmits itself to you. You can sense how still it is, and in doing so, the same stillness arises within you. You sense how deeply it rests in being, completely at one with what it is, and where it is. In realizing this, you too come to a place of rest deep within yourself.”
From Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle