I had a lovely conversation with a stranger at a cafe today who read aloud to me a haiku he wrote, and explained how the trees where he lives appear to be breathing. Watching them has taught him to listen in a way that years of meditation never did. In a way that he can feel in his bones. He has realized that people are not the only sentient beings. What’s more, the fact that we are just now coming to realize this makes us the infants, the naive ones, the newest initiates. One by one we are waking up with a wide-eyed “Oh… I see!”

Sharing something like this can feel pretty vulnerable. I admire him for taking the risk, although I suspect he has reached an age and stage where he no longer worries much about the opinions of cafe patrons. Nonetheless, I hope I was able to convey how thoroughly I understand.

The world around us, the plants, the animals, the children, are offering guidance all the time. Patiently offering and waiting for us to listen. They still have not given up on us despite our arrogance and ignorance. They have so much comfort and wisdom to offer. So much guidance.

Are you learning to listen?

If you’re interested and not sure where to start here’s what I suggest: go outside in Nature (without your phone); sit somewhere comfortable; be still and quiet. Simply watch, listen, smell, feel. When you get bored, restless, nervous… just keep sitting. Stay still and quiet. Sit through the desire to do something. Sit through the cravings for your phone. And as you continue to sit, notice how your surroundings scurry back to life. It takes about 5 minutes. Bugs, birds, furry creatures. Watch them all venture out from hiding. Allow yourself to be assimilated.

Notice how it feels to belong.