Natural Intelligence - Have You Got It?
On the interconnectedness of all living things...
It's midday and I'm lying in the shelter of an ancient oak tree. As I look up at the interlaced branches I wonder how many old oak trees there are on our planet?
As I relax in the warmth of late spring, the hum of busy insects soothes the stresses of the morning away. I begin to daydream....
For some reason my mind travels to some of the most extreme places on the planet, to the frigid ice deserts of the Arctic, to the towering turquoise icebergs of Antarctica. Then I'm in the steamy, noisy rainforest, pushing away vines and hearing the cries of birds I've never seen and can't identify...I wander along the burgeoning pathways for a while, until I find myself in a deep, cool northern forest...
As my mental journey goes on, I begin to realise that the whole of the globe is overlaid by a very fine, filmy gauze. Its fine filaments seem to be connecting every single life form that exists.
Now I can see that more than 99% of the world's human population is completely unaware of this gauze, even though it is all around them. But the whole of the animal kingdom, from the tiniest microbe to the largest mammal, is connected into it and is sensitive to the infinitesimally tiny vibrations that travel along it. Most of them filter out the long-distance 'messages' and focus on those that are geographically nearby or most useful to their own survival.
Some animals, however, such as wolves and bears, are known to sense and make use of an astonishingly wide and subtle range of signals that reach them through this web of intelligence.
A very small percentage of the human population is now tuned into this same web, unlike our ancestors, who made use of it all the time. The vast majority of the human population now live their lives cut off from it, as the noise and intensity, angst and busy-ness of everyday life keeps them focused on daily survival. There are some who occasionally, by accident or design, dip into nature's web for short spells of time but all too often their attention is rapidly reclaimed by the demands of daily life.
So what of the remaining few? How are they connected, how much can they sense of the incredibly complex intelligence system that exists all around us?
What many such individuals have found is that, when exposed to stillness and silence, our primal listening systems begin to reconnect us very efficiently. It takes a little time and practice but very soon, the more profoundly you expose your senses to the natural world, the faster you start to access something that you instantly know is far bigger than yourself, far greater in fact than any group of people or creatures.
At first this brings a sense of awe, and relief...and utter peace. Slowly these feelings expand and they begin to feed your inspiration and your creativity, and in so doing, they enhance your humanity in a way that is totally connected to the wider world of nature.
But first you have to experience the small, quiet miracle.
The opportunities are all around us - but we hardly ever notice them, or if we do, it's in a superficial way. Yet even in the heart of a teeming city there are pockets of natural space, tiny bits of green micro-worlds where nature is quietly getting on with it. A photographer with a macro lens might lie in a tiny patch of grass on some waste ground and in a very short space of time enter a world of creatures that lead intricate, interconnected lives, invisible to millions of humans, yet are subtly linked in to the entire universal intelligence system by their own sensitivity to it.
If you've ever had a sudden feeling about a place, an inkling that you shouldn't go somewhere or a sudden sense of joy or sadness washing over you that you simply can't explain, then you are probably picking up fragments of this great universal intelligence of nature. And the more you listen, the more you hear.
Humans are, for now, not just the dominant species on this planet but also the least tuned-in to the whole fabric of the universe. It wasn't always this way. Early hominids would not have survived if they had been as disconnected as most of us are today. But our sheer weight of numbers, the exponential population explosion that has swamped the planet with one very controlling species, has pushed many other species to, or beyond, the brink of extinction.
BUT to agonise about the negative impact of man or to get depressed, or manic, about eco-issues, is to miss the point completely. Any population researcher will tell us that in every single instance of a population explosion, the graph will climb, and climb, and climb...until the point of over-balance is reached. Then the numbers will plummet to close to the original starting point before recovering and beginning to rise again.
This is inevitably what will happen to the human population of this planet in due course. We don't know how, though theories abound, ranging from meteor strikes to pandemics, and we don't know when. What we do know though, is that after a century of completely unprecedented global change and population growth, a far faster rate of change than at any time in the hundreds of thousands of years homo sapiens has been around, we're pushing towards that end point with increasing speed.
This is not something that should make us fearful. It's part of a natural process, one that we tend not to see too clearly because we're embedded in the nuts and bolts of daily living. Since we have no idea whether our population will hit its peak 3, 30, 300 or 3000 years from now, there's no sense in becoming paranoid or depressed about it.
What each of us CAN do, however, is reconnect ourselves, without delay, to the fabric of the natural world. Every day, there is some opportunity to do this. You pause to listen for a few moments to a bird singing, you lie down and stick your nose into the wild grasses at the edge of a garden or field, you find a good place to watch the sunset or the dawn slowly transform the sky or you take your warmest clothes and a mat and you simply lie looking up at the starts on a clear night.
I'm not going to try and tell you what effect this will have on you. I can only say that it will change your whole life if you let it. And when one life is changed, it tends to have a knock-on effect, creating ripples that can reverberate into the fabric of the universal intelligence itself.
Many people, once they've experienced such things on their own, want to go a little further, to learn ways in which they can connect more deeply, become more sensitive to the plethora of secret radio signals of the natural web. In small groups, in wild natural places, we are able to immerse ourselves far more profoundly, to share the skills of acquiring deeper listening, clearer looking, acute awareness...of a super-sensitivity that is, in itself, a new natural philosophy of life.
Inspiration, creativity, inner peace, simple happiness and transformation...they're really such natural states for us and completely attainable. Every one of us deserves to experience them and then live them for the rest of our lives.
If more and more of us can learn to turn down the outer volume and tune in to the inner world of nature, then maybe, just maybe, we can reconnect with the vast web of nature's intelligence and in so doing, create a better future for all the species on our beautiful Earth?
©Hilary Parke 2012