Everything in existence on the earth is an expression of the larger whole. All creatures on this planet are in a symbiotic relationship with one another. As humans, we have the responsibility to mimic this relationship with one another as well as with our environment. There are multiple dimensions of symbiotic relationships. This article weaves reflections and meditations on our inner worlds with that in which we express outwardly.
Symbiotic relationships exist in many forms. Mutualism is an interaction in which both organisms benefit. Parasitism is a relationship in which one organism directly harms the other in order to receive benefits. In commensalism, one species benefits while the other is not harmed. We experience these relationships both internally and externally. When we practice conventional farming methods, plating species for our own benefit without considering how the plants feel or the effects these methods are having on our environment, this is a parasitic interaction. When one plants multiple rows of the same species, our soils become depleted of the nutrients in which that species needs to survive. As the plants on our earth work to feed one another (species commonly known as weeds such as comfrey and dandelion pull nitrogen up from the depths of the soil providing nutrients for their shallow tap-rooted friends). We too organically function in this way; A cyclic unifying dance of exchange. We do this on small scales all the time, cooking food for our loved ones and community so that they are nourished, looking after the children in our lives, and sharing stories with our brothers and sisters. It is important that we celebrate our mutualistic relationships as well as observe the reasons behind our actions. Are there parasitic relationships in your life? Is your relationship with the self mutualistic? For me, the grand unity of planet earth and the cosmos is the basis of all spirituality. It is an invitation to entangle with the greater whole and become the force we are capable of being.
Scientifically, we are all connected through the elements; carbon, oxygen, water etc. All of life involves taking in elements and releasing elements through an exchange process. We can look at this in the garden as well as in our own bodies. As we take in oxygen, we release carbon dioxide, while others are taking in carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen. We are taking in what others send out and vice versa. This extends into the essence we are releasing. If we are in a good state of mind and releasing love, others are picking this up, and of course, the opposite is also true.
The reason breath is so important for people to who are just beginning to meditate is because when we focus on the breath, we are bringing ourselves back into the inner universe. Our thoughts are the shadows of our deepest feelings. When we spend enough time observing the mind and re-writing our dialogue, what we eventually seem to find is that we reach a place of utter stillness, where we realize we are much greater than our individual being… the place in which we can hear our own heart beat, and from this beat, we feel the heartbeat of the universe. We are able to reach the place inside of ourselves that is in everything.
I spent my twenty third year on this tiny blue ball in what felt like the universal thread that holds this world in place. I explored the Amazon, Yasuni and Manu Jungles with nothing more than a backpack, a machete, and a heart full of wonder. During my time, I was blessed to live with both the Waoroni and Shipibo tribes. It was during my third month however, I was given directions by a fellow traveler on how to get to a Shaman’s home outside of Iquitos in Peru. He didn’t generally have any visitors and expected no money in exchange for a stay. He went by the name of Hank and being on his property was like stepping into the Garden of Eden; he had seemingly completely re-habilitated the once slash-and-burned land in the short six years that he lived there. Plush trees, fruits, vegetables and life buzzed the property. Colors were more vibrant and the wind had a voice. I had stepped into a vortex of universal harmony with life.
I was inspired by the microcosm he created and was eager to learn how he rehabilitated land in such a way. With an unfettering energy, I asked him if I could help plant anything or begin mulching trees. He looked deeply into my eyes and told me, “Just observe, that is the best work you can do.”
“Yesterday I was cleaver so I wanted to change the world, today I am wise so I wish to change myself.” – Rumi
As I explored the earth, truths rang in my ear, “As above, so below.” “The macrocosm mimics our microcosm.” I was beginning to pick up on a different frequency of life. I began to notice all the intricate workings of nature; the way the sun shone through particular trees to allow the under-story room to grow while shading neighbor species. By slowing down and learning to breath with the tranquil afternoon winds that flood the property, I listened, and remembered how to listen. I began to truly feel how all things are interdependent and interrelated. The more time I spent with Hank, the more I felt his illuminating stillness. As this stillness seeped into my being, I began to understand how we continually emit different frequencies; resonances that are picked up by the people around us.
At night, I would go up to Hank’s bamboo built home and share the sound of silence, looking out from his screened porch at the moon, I was slowly realizing just how small I was and at the same time, becoming something much larger. The night was a remarkable song of death and rebirth. He said something very profound to me one night in a break of silence. With no introduction, he spoke, “nothing more than love and attention, if you give it love and attention, it shall grow, plants, children, your own being.” I nodded and smiled softly, taking this wisdom with me for the rest of my journey in this body.
Almost three years later, these words still ring through my consciousness. I have made a point to choose the path with a heart. If there is love behind what you do, the outcome shall surely be love. I am now in Ashland, Oregon, preparing a garden for the spring. Below are the details on how to create a garden bed that requires no water, and no weeding… simply love and attention to its hard earned harvest. Each plant has a consciousness and feelings just like you and I. When we tune into their frequency, we realize that they are telling us exactly what they need. As humans, it seems as though we have disconnected from understanding our own needs and therefore don’t receive what our souls are asking for. The most organic way I have found to reconnect to our soul’s desire is to return back to where we came from, the earth.
Much like Hank suggested that I do no work, I also invite you to slow down, to observe the passing clouds and the thoughts in your mind. One way to enhance your being and become more empowered is to grow your own food that requires no weeding or watering (little work). You can read my article on getting started here . I sing to my plants, I listen to their song, and I watch as my person evolves with the infinite dance of life.
When we celebrate what connects us rather than what divides us, we begin to understand the power within that connection. When we feel alone, we feel powerless. When we feel connected, we feel like we can do anything.