In the last Nature Notes, I introduced the idea of ecosystems as organisms, that an ecosystem might be more “highly organized, internally connected organism” than “random collection of beasts.” In this view, habitats become organs; organisms become cells. Just as an “organizing principle” connects and organizes a body’s cells [i.e., human soul], a pattern connects and organizes a forest’s living creatures [i.e., forest soul].
- by James Inabinet, Ph.D.
When ensconced in a forest, we sometimes experience a sublime feeling of connection, like we’ve come home. This feeling is the product of a human soul “in-communion-with” the forest soul. At such times, one’s soul sings. I want my soul to sing.
If singing souls are a product of communion, how to bring it about? In general, communion begins with connection, and connection with relationship. Friendship is a common relationship among people; how are friendships made? Most often they begin with hanging out together, learning about the other person. In a growing friendship, one finds out about what she’s like: what she’s good at, her passions, her likes and dislikes, her behaviors in a variety of situations. If these are attended to, over time, friendship usually happens; two people become good friends.
Being good friends, though, is not the same as “being-in-communion-with.” The former is simple and predictable while the latter is neither simple nor predictable. People in communion, especially long-term partnerships, assess their relationship more by feeling than thinking. Intimate partners, sharing communion, do what feels right and it is right! Each person simply “feels out” how “to be” in communion. Feeling, then, is the way to assess relationship; thinking can get in the way.
How does communion happen? I don’t know! But I know it begins the same way as friendship, with intending it, and doing what friendship entails. Communion just happens though, something shifts–I don’t know what–but something, and each comes to know the other in a special way. More than mere knowing, it’s feeling, a magical “feeling-knowing.” This is not the product of adding more of what made friendship. Communion is unquantifiable; it’s not “friendship times two.” It’s like grace, falling as if from the sky, landing here and over there, touching, enkindling. It’s uncontrollable. It happens when and if it happens. If we can’t make it happen, what can we do? We can put ourselves into communion’s path. This is true of communion with people and place.
To evoke communion, it helps to understand that communion is a sharing, a giving and receiving. Importantly, what’s shared is soul. Without the gift, there can be no receiving. In addition, communion requires depth, achieved by a kind of looking through surface appearance in order to reach down into soul. Because communion is sharing, in order to penetrate, one must be penetrable. Ego defenses must pull back. If the other cannot peer into my depths, I cannot peer into hers. Finally, communion is a spiritual relationship. With communion, one becomes less an isolated individual. Like a Venn diagram, part of the one overlaps and includes the other, at which point, the two become one. A vibratory alignment begins as two joined souls vibrate together in resonance.
Communion between people is not communion with a forest soul, but I’ve found the pathways to both to be essentially the same. Communion with a natural place is easier somehow. I think it’s because there’s no “forest ego” to get in the way. The forest soul seems ever primed for communion. We just have to get our own ego out of the way and connect with nature on its terms. Essentially, the same process for humans works with nature. First, we have to become friends with the place by being there to learn about how it works in myriad situations. Then we look through surface appearances seeking depth, not for ego purposes but for purposes of uniting. Remember, communion is all about sharing. Then we must listen and trust. Souls inevitably seek to resonate with souls, always welcoming and invariably open to vibratory resonance with another. Finally, it requires time. It doesn’t happen overnight. In the beginning there will bursts of communion, flashes of true connection, evoked by intending it, by asking the place what it means to be in communion–and listening. Over time, the feeling grows, communion grows, one’s soul begins to sing just by being there.
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