Friday, February 23, 2018

Make a thank you gift for the forest


There is an intending consciousness in all things, in the forest itself.  This consciousness may not be easy to recognize or available to our human version of awareness. Yet this consciousness in everything, each in its own version, is my understanding of the Spirit World.  Access to the Spirit World is through the physical.  So when we are out in the forest, we are in the Spirit World.  And the Spirit World is awake, and watching us, to see how good a guest we are when we come into her house.

What are we doing to say thank you to this forest that doesn’t need us to carry on her daily business, but which includes, increasingly, the presence of us in her house?  What do we do for the forest, for the Spirit World within the forest that is watching us—that is a gift just for her?   

If you are my age you were probably taught to bring a hostess gift when you went visiting, and especially if you were meaning to stay awhile.  And I recall it was better if the gift was something I made, or that it be at least “hand crafted” instead of “store bought.”  This is because a hostess gift is really about the effort, and not about the thing.  It is the effort of making the jam or knitting the mitts that is being given; our effort honours the effort our hostess is making for us.

So here is something to make. Something of great value, altered with our effort, and then given it to the forest—to the Spirit World—as a thank you gift.

Find some seeds, or maybe a few kernels of dry corn, and pound them into a meal between two rocks.  You might hum a little tune as a gift to the rocks as you do this, since they are really doing the work.   Seeds are a gift of great value because of their potential to make more of themselves. Yet when we alter seeds with our effort we make them into food instead, which is their other great value.   Twist the meal into a square of paper, and tie it into a little bundle  with string so you can put it in your pocket.  The more effort you put into the fineness of the meal, into decorating the paper, into the string that ties the bundle—the more valuable is your gift. 

Then go for a walk in a forest, even if it’s the forest along your road or just out your front door. 

Notice a place that feels like a place...the open end of a nurse log, a hollow in an acient tree.  Once you find a place, put your breath on your bundle...and put the bundle in the place.  That’s it.  If you want to say anything when you are placing the bundle, don’t say “Thank you” say I remember.

It is your effort to make the bundle, to make time to take the walk, to find the place, to remember to put your breath on the bundle, to remember as you give it—this is the gift.  The Spirit World eats the energy of our effort which is released as the bundle opens and slowly decays…while the creatures of the physical forest eat the meal.

And if you do this, if you take a quiet moment to look at your probably soggy little bundle there amidst the wet leaf litter and moss, I suggest you’ll feel like it’s a pretty OK gift, maybe even a very nice gift to give such a gracious hostess.

You may notice that there are no pictures of the little gift bundle as part of this story.  This is because when we take pictures of what we give the Spirit World, it is like we are eating the feast of energy ourselves.  The picture does not decay, and so neither the Spirit World nor the creatures of the physical forest receive that part of the meal.  So just leave the bundle without taking a picture of it on your device, smile, and walk away home.