The silence of Nature reminds me of the silence within. It is one of the many reasons I bring my practice of Qigong, a Chinese form of breath, meditation and movement, outside everyday. Practicing outside each morning reconnects me to the heart of Life, Mystery, Beauty, and Silence. What is the quality of this silence? It is an inner stillness, the “void” or entering into the unbounded space of “WuJi”. And from this place, all life, creativity, expression, aliveness, inspiration, understanding, wisdom, gratitude and Joy arise. It arises naturally, without effort. This is the “wuwei” – art of non-action- practice of WuJi.
Our Mother Earth is the Grandmaster of this. For from Her depths of Her dark, moist womb grows the tallest trees, the vastest forests, the valleys, flowers, berries, medicines, all the plants we and other animals depend on for living and thriving. All life arises from stillness and goes back to stillness. Therefore, starting each day outside in Nature brings me back to this most primal, quiet, primordial place from which I am bathed anew, awake anew and am refreshed and rejuvenated, growing my body, my spirit, my Soul.
The silence in Nature brings me to the silence within. Waiting and watching the clouds in the morning sky, I listen to them, and feel their misty vapors as if they are an extension of me. In a moment, I become the cloud, the sky, the tall stands of conifers in the forest across the valley and the silent twinkle of the stars in daylight. And this connection, understanding arises from stillness, from the quiet place Nature gives.
Nature is always giving this silent stillness through the breathing pulsing life of the forest floor, the swaying leaves in the trees, the sparkling swirling waters of the river flowing and the breath-taking brightness of the cool glowing moon in the nighttime sky. All these moments, every moment are teachable moments in stillness, in silence from which the ultimate magic and magnificence of Life arises.
My qigong practice brings me to this place each day. My body in awareness, my heart open, my senses engaged, my mind emptied as I practice outside – often at home in my backyard, sometimes by the river in the forest, and, as much as I can, in our wild lands.
The more I connect deeply with Nature, the more I connect inside. For in going out, I come within.
Qigong gives me the tools to powerfully cultivate this natural process, to learn from my greatest teacher, Mother Earth.
From within the quiet of my own being, I can feel the shining of the stars above, the moon and her rhythm around our Earth, the cycles and turning of the seasons within my bones and breath. I can feel and continue to learn from the mountain meadows, old growth trees, milky glacial waters and alpine peaks I’ve visited in summer time, because through greeting them with my open heart, awareness and an inner stillness, their Qi flows in. They are now a part of me and I a part of them.