There is an ancient Chinese saying “To follow the Great Nature”. This sentence guides us to learn from Great Nature, as it could be considered one of our most respected teachers. Why? My beloved teacher and Grand Qi Gong Master Ou Wen Wei spoke of this recently, elaborating on the qualities of Great Nature. Great Nature gives of its resources equally and completely, to all creatures. Sunshine, water, and air, are all resources that are given without discrimination. We can learn deeply from this kind of Love.
How do we learn how to give love equally and completely?
I believe it can begin first with presence, and then appreciation. One way we can connect to this Great Love is by appreciating, being curious about and respecting the plants and animals around us. This always seems easier to practice with plants and animals. In their simplicity, they are more receptive to what we offer them. Over time we can give that same quality of love and respect to other humans. I’ve been exploring native plants and herbs quite a bit this year and have developed a fascination with my immediate environment here in western NC. Through this process of learning, I've felt more connected to Great Nature, and through this connection and building of knowledge, I've grown my love and appreciation for it. I’ve become especially fond of finding fun uses for weeds and otherwise overlooked plants!
I recently discovered the wild and wondrous Elderflower on our land. I’d love to share what I’ve learned about this incredibly healing and useful plant: This flower has an abundance of pollen which has building blocks for balancing the endocrine system (hormonal system). It carries a natural yeast you can use to ferment all kinds of tasty treats including champagne, kombucha or jun! It's very gentle for children. If they have come down with a cold or fever, you can use it as a diaphoretic (makes you perspire) and diuretic (makes you urinate), so it helps to disperse any bacteria or viral infection that has a hold in the body. You can make a tea from fresh or dry flowers, or for a very small child you may create a sponge bath with the flowers that will help them sweat and bring down a fever. A study in a hospital in Ireland showed that elderflower tea was more effective in combating the flu and other bacterial infections than antibiotics. The flowers move lung stagnation and congestion. As a cooling herb, it can move heat in the body and any blood stagnation as well. The best part is that it grows in the entire northern hemisphere of the planet and is blooming right now!
Master Ou says that in order to seek truth, beauty and kindness in the world, one needs to be willing to learn all kinds of knowledge with humility. Only those who are truly humble, who are willing to reflect and evaluate themselves and their surroundings can discover higher truths.
I know for me, when I marvel at nature and all it’s mystery and glory, speculating curiously, the delight it brings to my soul is immeasurable, infinite, and leads me to nature's Great Love.
Some of you who attended my Pangu Yoga class in Raleigh requested the poem I read honoring and thanking Great Nature. Here it is.
A prayer stemming from the Lakota in regards to "Aho Mitakuye Oyasin
To all my relations, I gave thanks.
To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.
To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.
To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.
To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.
To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.
To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages. I thank you.
To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you.
You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.
Thank you for this Life."