Lett's Set A Spell

Reflecting on religion and nature
Sep. 29, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

During this fall weather, Mother Nature and Father Sky beckon me outside where I feel closest to God and in harmony with the universe. While walking around the neighborhood, I feel kinship with the grass, trees, flowers, bushes, butterflies and birds. 

I am reminded of a favorite quote:

“What if our religion was each other,

If our practice was life,

If prayer, our words?

What if the temple was the earth,

If forests were our church,

If holy water – the rivers, lakes and ocean?

What if meditation was our relationship,

If the teacher was life,

If wisdom was self-knowledge,

If LOVE was the center of our being?”

   This was written by Ganga White for the Rainforest Benefit in New York City back in April 1998. White is a yoga teacher and founder of the White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif. White is the author of a book, “Yoga Beyond Belief: Insights to Awaken and Deepen Your Practice” and internationally known for his work with bringing yoga to mainstream America.

GANGA WHITE’S WORDS touch my heart deeply. I think about the concept of religion being our relationship with each other, how we treat the people we love and the ones we don’t like or even know. I could see that religion relates to who we are in terms of our feelings, our thoughts, our beliefs, our behaviors, our actions, our deeds, our endeavors, etc. 

I resonate with his idea that prayer are the words we use while connecting with a Higher Power but also the statements we make to others, comments we utter to ourselves. If we talk negatively we are creating energy that does not serve anyone … and certainly not us. With gossip we are spreading ugliness to our listener who is the victim of our disapproving judgment.

If we pray for someone’s healing but then tell others this person is sick and even dying, we are being pessimistic and not believing in healing of the person. When we don’t have faith that our own prayers can be answered, then we are actually creating negative energy around their healing. 

Meanwhile, the concept of a temple as the earth and a vibrating living organism makes sense in terms of us being a part of nature. When we appreciate nature as in the forests, near trees or surrounded the woods, we feel like we are in a sacred place like a sanctuary, a church. For me being around water is holy and I especially appreciate my pond next to my house as well as the river nearby, lakes and the ocean.

MEDITATION IS a ritual popular in most churches whereas we sit silently while soothing music is playing or a minister is talking softly. For me meditation is broader that that … it is emptying the mind of thoughts and worries as a way of promoting spiritual peace, mental relaxation and physical rest. Meditation involves our relationship to ourselves, to a higher power and to life itself. 

White says life is our teacher, and it is through soulful and gut-wrenching experiences that we learn to live abundantly. Our greatest wisdom comes from self-knowledge because only through understanding the self and who we really are can we be intelligent and therefore offer our gifts to others.

With any religion, whether Christianity or Buddhism, the fundamental principle is love, loving our Lord, loving life, loving ourselves, loving others, and loving the earth and the universe. If love is the center of our being, then eventually everything else flows … we live more in harmony with people and the planet. 

While being with nature for hours I feel in tune with myself, family, friends, the environment … with everyone and everything in the universe. I vow to take time each day to walk and talk with God, to express gratitude for every flower, even every weed, in my yard and in my life.

Yes, life is our teacher and through experiences in our everyday lives we gain the insights to serve God and others.  

AlexSandra Lett is a professional speaker and the author of “Natural Living,  From Stress to Rest;” “A Timeless Place, Lett’s Set a Spell at the Country Store;” “Timeless Moons, Seasons of the Fields and Matters of the Heart;” “Timeless Recipes and Remedies, Country Cooking, Customs, and Cures;” and “Coming Home to my Country Heart, Timeless Reflections about Work, Family, Health, and Spirit.” Lett can be reached at (919) 258-9299 or LettsSetaSpell@aol.com.