30 Oct Seeing God in Nature | New Thought Podcasts
Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of wearable inspiration for a better world. Visit them online at Bookofzen.com. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from Thoughts Are Things by Prentice Mulford, published in 1898.
You are fortunate if you love trees, especially the wild ones growing where the Great Creative Force has placed them, independent of human care. For all things we call “wild” or “natural” are nearer the Infinite Mind — and being nearer the Infinite, they have in them the more perfect Infinite Force and Thought. That is why when you are in the midst of what is wild and natural (in the forest or mountains, where every trace of human works are left behind), you feel an indescribable exhilaration and freedom that you do not feel elsewhere.
You breathe the elements ever being thrown off by the trees, the rocks, the birds, and animals, and by every expression of the Infinite Mind about you. It is healthfully exhilarating. It is something more than air. It is the Infinite Mind, as expressed by all these natural things, which is acting on you. You cannot get this force in a city, nor even in a carefully cultivated garden — for there the plants and trees have too much of our lesser mind in them, the human mind which believes that it can improve the universe.
People are inclined to think that the Infinite made this world in the rough, and then left it altogether for us to improve. Are we really doing this in destroying the native forests, as well as the birds and animals which once dwelt in them? Are our rivers, many of them laden with the filth of sewage and factory, and our ever expanding cities and towns, covering miles with piles of brick and mortar, their inhabitants crammed into the smallest living quarters, honeycombed with sewers below, and resounding with rattle and danger above — are these really “improvements” on the Divine and natural order of things?
You are fortunate when you possess a live, tender, earnest love for the wild trees, animals, and birds, and recognize them all as coming from, and built of, the same mind and spirit as your own, and able also to give you something very valuable in return for the love you give them. The wild tree is not unresponsive or mindless of a love like that.
Such love is not a myth or mere sentiment. It is a literal element and force going from you to the tree. It is felt by the spirit of the tree — for you represent a part and belonging of the Infinite Mind, and the tree represents another part and belonging of the Infinite Mind. It has its share of life, thought, and intelligence. And you have a far greater share, which is destined to be greater still.
Love is an element (which though physically unseen) is as real as air or water. It is an acting, living, moving force, and in that far greater world of life all around us, of which our physical senses are unaware, it moves in waves and currents like those of the ocean.
There is a true sense in the tree which feels your love and responds to it. But it does not respond or show its pleasure in our way or in any way we can now understand. Its way of so doing is the way of the Infinite Mind of which it is a part.
The ways of God are unsearchable and past finding out. They are not for us to fathom. They are for us only to intimate and live out, in so far as they make us happier. There is for all (in time) a serenity and “peace of mind which passeth all understanding;” but this peace cannot be put through a chemical analysis or the operation of a dissecting room.
Since the Great Spirit has made all things, is not that All Pervading Mind and wisdom in all things? If then we love the trees, the rocks, and all things as the Infinite made them, shall they not in response to our love give us each of their own peculiar thought and wisdom? Shall we thus not draw nearer to God through a love for these expressions of God in the rocks and trees, birds and animals?
Do we expect to find God (to realize, appreciate, and feel the power of the Divine mind) only by dwelling on a word of three letters: G-O-D?
You laugh, perhaps, at the idea of a tree having a mind — a tree that thinks. But the tree has an organization like your own in many respects. It has for blood its sap. It has a circulation. It has for skin its bark. It has for lungs its leaves. It must have food: it draws nourishment from soil, air, and sun. It adapts itself to circumstances.
The oak growing in rough and windy climates roots itself more firmly in the soil to withstand the tempest. The pines growing thickly together take little root, for they depend on numbers to break the wind’s force. The sensitive plant recoils at the approach of a human’s hand. Many wild plants, like indigenous peoples, will not grow and thrive in artificial conditions.
With all these physical resemblances to our own body, should we deny the tree or plant such share of mind as the Infinite gives it? No, I think not. The tree is a part of the Infinite Mind, even as you are. It is one of the All Pervading Mind’s myriads of thoughts. We see only such part or form of that thought as is expressed in the trunk, root, branch, and leaf — even as with ourselves we see only our physical bodies. We do not see our spiritual part. Nor do we see in the tree its spiritual part.
The tree is then literally one of God’s thoughts. That thought is worth our study. It contains some wisdom we have not yet gotten hold of. We want that wisdom. We want to make it a part of ourselves. We want it because real wisdom or truth brings us power. We want power to give us better bodies, sounder bodies, healthier bodies. We want entire freedom from sickness.
We want lighter hearts and happier minds. We want a new life and a new pleasure in living for each day. We want our bodies to grow lighter, not heavier with advancing years. We want a religion which will give us certainty instead of hopes and theories. We want a Deity that is simply impossible to doubt. We want to feel the Infinite Mind in every atom of our beings.
We want with each day to feel a new pleasure in living and, commencing where we left off yesterday, to find something new in what we might have thought to be “old” and worn out the day before. When we come into the domain of the Infinite Mind and are ever drawing more of that mind to us and making it a part of us, nothing can seem “flat, stale, and unprofitable.”
We want powers now denied the mortal. We want to be lifted above the cumbrousness of the mortal body, above the pains of the mortal body, above the death of the mortal body.
Can the trees give us all this? They can help very much so, when we get into their spirit; when we recognize and realize more and more the reality of that part of the Infinite which they express, and when we cease to look on them as inanimate creatures.
If you look on trees as fit only for lumber and firewood, you get very little life from them. They feel then toward you as you would feel towards a person who regarded you as a thing without mind or sense, and fit only to be sawed into lumber or firewood.
When we come really to love God or the Infinite Spirit of Good, we shall love every part of God. A tree is a part of God. When we come to send our love out to it, it will send its love back, and that love (that literal mind and element coming from the tree to us) will enter our beings, add itself to them, and give us its knowledge and power.
It will tell us that the mind and force it represents of the Infinite has far better uses for us than to be turned into fuel or lumber. Their love will tell us that the forests piercing the air as they do with their billions of branches, twigs, and leaves, are literally conductors for a literal element which they bring to the earth. This element is life giving to humanity — in proportion to our capacity for receiving it.
The nearer we are to a conception of the Infinite Mind (the clearer is it seen by us that this mind pervades all things), the closer do we feel our relationship to the tree, bird, or animal as a fellow creature — the more we absorb of that vitalizing element given out by all these expressions of mind. The person who looks on trees as fit only for fuel and lumber, can get but little of this element, which to the finer mind is an elixir of life.
We get the element of love only in proportion as we have it in us. We can only draw this element from the Supreme Power. We draw it in proportion as we admire every expression of the Infinite, be that expression a tree, or shrub, or insect, or bird, or other form of the Natural.
The more of these things we really love, the more of their element of love flows to us. That element is for us life as real as the tree itself. The more of that life we are receiving and absorbing, the more shall we realize a power in life, which can only be expressed as miraculous.
We shall see more and more clearly in time that when we get to the higher, finer, and more enduring life (to which all must grow), we will have the greatest possible inducement to give the trees, plants, birds, animals and all other expressions of the Infinite their lives and their fullest liberty. We shall be compelled to love them.
We cage a bird for our own pleasure. We do not cage the bird for its pleasure. That is not the highest love for the bird.
The highest love for all things is for us a literal source of life. The more things in the world of Nature to which we can give the higher love, the more of their natural love and life shall we get in return.
So, as we grow, refine, and increase this power of recognizing and loving the bird, the animal, the insect (or in other words, the Infinite in all things), we shall receive a love, a renewed life, strength, vigor, cheer and inspiration from not only them, but the falling snow-flake, the driving rain, the cloud, the sea, the mountain.
And this will not be a mere sentiment, but a great means for recuperating and strengthening the body — for a love of nature strengthens the spirit with a strength which comes to stay, and what strengthens the spirit must strengthen the body.
Communion with Nature is something, like I’ve said, far above a mere sentiment. It is a literal joining with the Infinite Being. The element received in such joining acts upon the mind and body, and is as real as anything we see or feel.
However, the ability to join ourselves with the Divine through its expressions in the cloud, the tree, the mountain and sea, the bird and animal, is not possessed by all in equal degree. Some are miserable when alone in the forest, field, or mountain. These people are literally out of their element or habitual current of thought. They can live with comfort only in the bustle of the city or the chatter of the household.
They can find life only in artificial surroundings. Their spirits are covered with a growth of artificiality. This cuts them off from any sense of God’s expressions in the solitude of Nature. So cut off are they, that they feel lonesome in the woods. Nature seems wild, savage, and gloomy to them.
But whoever can retire for periods to Nature’s solitudes and enjoy that solitude, feeling no solitude at all, but a joyous sense of exhilaration, will return among humanity with more power and new power. For he or she will have literally “walked with God” or the Infinite Spirit of Good.
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