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Layers of Perception

One of our trustees, Margie, recently penned the following description of her experiences in her garden early one August morning.

Early one morning in August, I wandered into the garden to enjoy the summer-blue, cloud-free sky, the warming sun and gently wafting breeze. The trees were twittering with the calls of birds and the garden was graced with the comings and goings of bumble bees, flies, honey bees and butterflies as they visited the flowers advertising their bounty through aroma and colour.

The movement, heat, fragrance and abundance of this small area of the world enabled me to see, hear, smell and feel deep aspects of life and vibrancy around me. Not only could I acknowledge these influences and energies through my physical senses but on a different level, I could acknowledge the wonder of it all through my heart-centred inner consciousness and feel the interconnectedness of all expressions of life. I believe each of us is enhanced when we awaken and simply know and accept that there is connection, sharing and majesty in the way everything fits together.

Content to be simply in the moment, I listened to the sounds of the birds, the buzz of the insects, the gentle rustle of the leaves as they danced in the wafting breeze, the soft sound of water splashing over the stones of the pond. Two white butterflies engaged in a synchronized dance. While one led in a jerky zigzag flight, the other matched every movement at a constant distance and speed. After a short display, they peeled off to fly away in opposite directions and out of sight. They left behind a question: would they ever meet again? I wished I knew more of the mysteries of butterflies.

A fleeting, small, shadowy movement among the leaves of the sycamore tree caught my eye. A tiny wren was busily engaged in searching among the foliage for morsels to eat. I wondered what this exquisite creature was looking for and wished I knew more of the mysteries of the shy and tiny wren.

Pale yellow dragon flies flitted from leaf to leaf on the red-robin bush and then settled on the top of the garden fence. I wished I knew more of the mysteries of dragonflies.

The sunlight reflected off the glistening, newly darkening, elderberries, looking like pendants of caviar dripping from the greenery. A female blackbird was silently feasting on the berries. I greeted her with thoughts of welcome; invited her to stay; told her she had nothing to fear. I wished I knew more of the mysteries of blackbirds. If only she could talk to me, I mused. On reflection, I realised that she had been ‘talking’ to me, but at a different level. In turn I hoped she had received my projected intent and understood.

A honey bee disappeared into the downward facing fuchsia flowers and, after a few seconds, emerged and did the same again and again. Nearby, I watched a leaf, yellowed ahead of its time, twirling in the breeze, caught as it was in a strand of spider web. At that same moment, a small white feather fell in gentle arcs from the sky. I hoped it would land in my garden. Instead it wafted into the garden next door: a blessing bestowed on a neighbour.

The breeze moved through my hair, the warmth of the sun was on my skin. I realised in some very small way, that I might be feeling the world around me similarly to the way honey bees and other flying insects do. They feel the air on their bristles and body hairs. They perceive the earth’s magnetic field and the sun’s ultra violet rays inform their visual navigation. They have the ability, that to humans seems awesome, to detect the aromas and perfumes of flowers from hundreds of yards away. This is despite other smells, pollutants and weather conditions which diminish and dilute flower aromas to infinitesimal parts in the air. Their ability to navigate, know, and be fully part of this world we share is wondrous, mysterious and humbling.

Beyond the purely physical, it is clear to me that animals, insects and ourselves, have other ways of perceiving this beautiful planet. There is much we cannot see, cannot feel, cannot measure, cannot scientifically prove, yet it is there. If we rely solely on our physicality to know this world, we condemn ourselves to be impoverished in so many ways.

Our spiritual consciousness, which encourages us to be in the now, to settle quietly and reflect and acknowledge our place in all that is, to honour and respect the multitude of life, in its many forms, is the most wonderful knowing we can develop. Thus can we experience many moments such as that August morning .

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