Experiencing the Sacred – Is there a longing in Nature?

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of life, the loneliness of the mind accompanies me, contemplating the nothingness, the nowhere.

Experiencing the Sacred – Is there a longing in Nature?

One day I noticed that something happened:

I love the dark hours of my being,
in which my senses deepen.
From them comes the knowledge that I have space
to a second timelessly wide life.[1]
(Rainer Maria Rilke)

Another poet, Georg Trakl, writes:

In the lonely hours of the spirit
it is beautiful to walk in the sun,
along the yellow walls of summer.
Footsteps sound softly in the grass. But the son of Pan always sleeps
in grey marble. [2]

When I let texts like these resonate within me, my senses expand. And I feel: there is a “space in me for a second, timelessly wide life”.

I circle around the mystery of my existence. It is true when the poet says that I walk along the “yellow walls of summer”. Autumn, the time when I am “harvested” is not yet here. But the walls are shone upon, the light of mystery makes them glow from within. Why do I have these walls in the first place? They inevitably arise, because my thinking and feeling, my judging and desiring, surround me and encapsulate me. This “grey marble” of a subtle nature can look very beautiful, and very finely designed. In it “sleeps the son of Pan”. My thinking, feeling and willing may be directed towards nature, but they are not one with the living breath of nature. They are only mirror images. And so I walk along these walls. “the footsteps sound softly in the grass …”

I know very well the “dark hours” of my being. In the midst of all the business of life, the loneliness of my spirit accompanies me, the looking into nothingness, into nowhere. One day I realised that something happens in such moments, that out of the darkness the light is working in me,. The celestials come (at first) “unperceived”, says Hölderlin. Only children notice this immediately and “strive towards [them]”.[3] That is clear because children cannot yet build walls.

Light is creative. When it enters me and I carry it with me, it starts building in me. It cannot do otherwise but to break down the walls and let something else come into being in their place, something alive: the “space of timelessly wide life”. The light makes itself a space that welcomes me into itself, it becomes a second soul to me.

My attention was strongly focused on the outside world. In this way, the masonry was created inside – as a mirror of the outside. However, spiritual texts, poetry, reflections, the field of the spiritual group, and the dreamy looking into the open, made the walls porous. Now – more clearly than before – a call penetrates through, a light from the innermost. It calls me and I long for it – we desire each other. My senses inwards sharpen, brightness breaks out of the darkness, a day dawns, a different kind of day.

I experience, metaphorically speaking, a „hand“ being extended to me and I try to grasp it. It leads me through the walls as if they were not there. Silence surrounds me, seemingly a nothingness.

In it I experience: “I am” – the “I am” comes towards me. It is shockingly simple: in the midst of the incomprehensible and beyond the whirlwind of my life, “I am”.  As far as my life is concerned, I myself am my potential, the possibility of my re-creation, my completion. This other one looks at me, „I“ look at me, the intangible one looks at the existent one. The two „shake hands“.

When I was young, I read the legends of the Holy Grail. They are about longing and the search for the unknown. My expectant listening into the depths appears to me now as a search for the Grail. And after many years, it suddenly seems to dawn. It is a light force that condenses and proves itself as soul substance. Light is creative, and it becomes what it creates, it „dies“ into its creation. In man, it can become the Grail and can awaken in him the “second, timelessly wide life”.

The Grail is usually depicted as a bowl. A wealth pours into this bowl, for in the world of light there is no lack. And it is quite natural that the bowl overflows.

Nietzsche’s Zarathustra opened himself to the overflowing wealth of the sun, the light source. He went into the mountains, together with his eagle and his snake. “[…] we waited for you every morning, took from you your abundance and blessed you for it.” This happened for ten years, until Zarathustra “grew weary of the wisdom he received in this way, like the bee that has gathered too much honey”. [4] He needed people to whom he could pass on the wisdom he had received.

Soul power wants to expand, creation wants to go on and on. Everything is to enter into a never-ending transformation. “I was naked and you clothed me” (Matthew 25,36), thus speaks the Spirit wandering through the world, seeking people in whom it can become a Soul. The Spirit and its Light are too rich for themselves. Thus there must be evolution.

A new presence lights up in me. The unlimited soul tries to communicate itself to the limited one and, as far as it can, to unite itself with it – for moments. This leads to tension and turbulence. Transformation is not only joyful.

My body points to my limitedness. With it I am part of the earth. The subtle, energetic areas of my being are not visible. They are more comprehensive, but also limited. It is the same with the earth. It has the gross material body we see and the energetic, invisible spheres. There, in the subtle spheres, I have a direct effect on her and she on me. Here we flow into each other, we react energetically to each other continually.

And here, in this realm, I have noticed for some years now how nature is turning towards me. Sometimes I talk about it with individual people who are on a similar path. To my delight, they usually confirm my experience. In our time, the earth is calling out to human beings in a more intensive way. It is waiting for something, it expects something from us.

I open myself to the energies of a tree, a group of trees, a flowerbed, a meadow in flower and experience the forces that flow into me from there. They enter into the attraction that has arisen in me through my devotion to the divine-spiritual. Is there a longing in nature that is similar to mine? Do the beings of nature desire to be taken up in the longing of man? Do they wish to be taken along to where their spiritual-soul origins lie?

Rainer Maria Rilke, the poet, said:

“Earth, is it not this that you want: to arise invisibly
in us? – Is it not your dream
to be invisible one day? – Earth! Invisible!
What, if not transformation, is your urgent mission?
Earth, you love, I will.” [5]

Here the longing of the earth is clothed in words. And also the response of a human being.

Everything is designed for further development, and every further development begins in the invisible. All that for which I open my doors enters me energetically and, if the divine light is present in my heart, it is seized by it and receives a new creative impulse. More than that, it receives the impulse of completion. For the spirit contains the completion, the light transmits the impulse, and in laborious, long development it seeks its realisation in matter.

Nature needs the mediation of man. He who is most developed is to be the bridge to the origin. For to the origin everything returns in a circle. Nature and man intermingle in this stream. The levels of human consciousness stimulate those who follow us. Thus a great alchemy is at work in the earth, in many stages and processes. But if it is to succeed, if the origin is to continue to work beneficially, the „second soul“ must be born in man, the place where the original potential is present. This is the great meaning of truly spiritual paths. They are a necessity for the transformation of the earth and its creatures.

And things “know” this. That is why they long for the attention of the human being, long for the resonance of their being within man. And this resonance is possible, as all nature is also a component of man. Nature builds us, physically and mentally. And so we too can take all nature into ourselves and make it part of our turning, our elevation to the divine-spiritual, so that it becomes the impulse for a new growth. For this, the “second soul” space is of utmost importance.

Rilke tries to find words for this and even goes into the details of the soul’s experience:

“And these things, that exist
from their passing away
understand that you are praising them; being transient,
they trust us, the most transient, to save them.
We shall transform them completely in our invisible hearts
in – o the infinite – in us! Whoever we may be in the end.” [6]

There is a tree standing before me and I open my heart to it. Its form and all its other qualities find a correspondence in me and can therefore unite with me. “O I who want to grow, I look out, and in me the tree grows”, Rilke formulates.[7] And then the poet reflects on what takes place further. What happens within me to the thing that I perceived: “Did it find love in me?” [8] And he asks:

Have I “restricted the things that are accustomed to greatness
in a crowded heart?
Images, signs, urgently picked up,
have you regretted being in me?” [9]

We belong together. We have the possibility, indeed we are dependent to serve each other. Evolution is not yet complete, it can lead us to the threshold of a second birth, a transfiguration.  The present earth wants to become a „new earth“. We are closest to serving this goal of completion by allowing the “new heaven” to enter. Animals,  plants, landscapes, seas and the mineral rock – everything needs to be permeated with new creative impulses of consciousness, mediated by the human being. He alone is able to let the empty space of the heart arise in which things are carried “from below upwards”, towards their spiritual origin. What a task for the human being! The poet confesses:

“[…] quivering with arms full of weakness
I give them back to God
and we celebrate the circle”. [10]

[1] In the poem Ich liebe meines Wesens Dunkelstunden
[2] In the poem Helian
[3] In his hymn Brot und Wein
[4] In: Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Part One, Preface, ch.1
[5] In the Ninth Elegy
[6] In the Ninth Elegy
[7] In the poem Es winkt zu Fühlung
[8] In the poem Waldteich
[9] In the poem Waldteich
[10] Rilke in the poem Für Nike

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Date: June 18, 2023
Author: Gunter Friedrich (Germany)
Photo: Aaron Burden auf Unsplash

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