A Gaia (Earth) Experience

Co-authored by Jan Jennings & Dr. Darryl Luke Pokea
Jan Jennings, artist

The experience I had is free and available to us all. It was as though at some deep level of consciousness, every cell of my body was renewed and had rejoined with the earth. My senses were heightened; there was a deeper perception and an effortless flow of thoughts. I felt awake, clear in my thinking.

All civilizations are impermanent and must come to an end one day. But if we continue on our current course, there’s no doubt that our civilization will be destroyed sooner than we think. The Earth may need millions of years to heal, to retrieve her balance and restore her beauty. She will be able to recover, but we humans and many other species will disappear, until the Earth can generate conditions to bring us forth again in new forms. Once we can accept the impermanence of our civilization with peace, we will be liberated from our fear. Only then will we have the strength, awakening and love we need to bring us together. Cherishing our precious Earth–falling in love with the Earth–is not an obligation. It is a matter of personal and collective happiness and survival. (Read full statement)
Thich Nhat Hanh

Each cell in our body is its own entity, its own eco-system, its own earth.
Dr. Darryl Pokea

We only have to look around us to see how complexity and psychic temperature are still rising: and rising no longer on the scale of the individual but now that of the planet. This indication is so familiar to us that we cannot but recognize the objective, experiential reality of a transformation of the planet as a whole.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. The Heart of Matter, 1950

Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos – the trees, the clouds, everything.
Thick Nhat Hanh

For those familiar with Dr. Emoto (Japanese researcher who published the book “The Message from Water”), this is his healing prayer for the Gulf:

I send the energy of love & gratitude to the water & all the living creatures in the Gulf of Mexico & its surroundings. To the whales, dolphins, pelicans, fish, shellfish, planktons, corals, algae & all living creatures, I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
Dr. Emoto

Jan Jennings, artist

I went outdoors worried about accomplishing many tasks. I often like to think about my talks while working outside. This particular day, the mental preparation for the talks and the physical chores were all overwhelming. I thought, “I’ve got to get from here to there and get the work done.” My body felt tight, but I ignored it. I wasn’t attentive to the sounds, the scenery, the breeze, or the light. I was only focused on getting to the picnic table to tighten its bolts and stop it from wobbling. I felt just as shaky as the picnic table and no thoughts were coming to me about the subject matter of my talks. “I need to get all this done”, I thought. I felt angry, hurried, and irritated that I had so much to do.

I began tightening the bolts on the picnic table near the pond. I lay down on the ground beneath the table and it felt good. The dog followed me and laid down and turned on her back with a big sigh. She put her paws up in the air and began basking in the sunlight. I tightened one or two bolts, paused and felt so good again, feeling the Earth supporting my body. I felt the gentle breeze, shifting directions, and became aware of my breathing in and out, and how comfortable both were. I felt the sun on a portion of my right hand and face and became aware of heat throughout my body. I heard the sound of fish splashing water in the pond, and became aware of my circulation. As I heard the blend of the sounds of water, wind in the trees, and birds, my mind began to quiet. The dog came over to lick my hands.

I tightened a couple more bolts with ease and was amazed how fast it went. Over half the picnic table was done and it seemed effortless. It was as though healthier rhythms were re-awakened in the task of tightening the bolts on the picnic table. Ideas began to flow again with ease on what I wished to present in my talks. I wanted to stay there all day, under the picnic table laying on the earth. The dog, sensing I was nearly finished, began exploring other areas near the pond.

When I did finally get up, everything around me looked more alive. Even when standing or walking, I felt connected with the earth, enjoying each step touching the ground. As I continued walking, I felt attuned to everything around me. It seemed as if every blade of grass under my steps was aware of my presence and I was aware of every blade of grass cushioning my step. I moved on to many other tasks that day with the awareness of this connection staying with me. Everything seemed in sync.

Jan Jennings, artist

The experience I had is free and available to us all. It was as though at some deep level of consciousness, every cell of my body was renewed and had rejoined with the earth. My senses were heightened; there was a deeper perception and an effortless flow of thoughts. I felt awake, clear in my thinking.

An appreciation of the beauty of creation all around us, can free the mind, to be open to our Spirit’s inspirations and is also healing for the body as cells return to harmony. The earth and its beauty are good for the immune system. Studies have shown that hospitalized patients whose rooms have a view of a dumpster, parking lot or alley, take longer to convalesce than those whose windows open out to flowers, trees and other natural landscapes.

Every time we see a leaf and are filled with awe, we are appreciating the miracles and wonder of life in ourselves. As we hug a tree and embrace the miracles of creation all around us, we embrace the same miracles of creation within each of us. The chlorophyll in plants is similar in its molecular makeup to human blood hemoglobin. Even the processes of bacteria, many of which nurture our bodies in helping us to digest our food, are also are so similar in their activities to the cells in our bloodstream and lymphatic (immune) system. We are interconnected and interrelated with all life. Every time we support and witness consciously, the rebirth of a forest or any ecological system, we are supporting the same within our own bodies.

Jan Jennings, artist

In my experience at the picnic table, the natural sounds of water, wind through the trees, and songs of birds opened my mind so that I could begin to think clearly and creatively again using my whole brain. The Japanese, who are raised with a deep appreciation of nature have been found to process nature sounds as if they were a symphony, utilizing, more holistically, both their left and right brains as musicians of all cultures do. Cultures which do not support an appreciation of nature from an early age, were found to use smaller portions of their right brains and little of their left. They process nature sounds as if they were noise, not music, communication, or language.

As I was lying on the ground feeling its support and the breeze, I became aware again of my breath, “taking in and letting go.” I could feel the rhythms with each raising and lowering of my chest, the expansion and contraction of my diaphragm. These are the pulsations of life. Our organs, tissues and all of our cells each pulse in their own vibratory patterns. Even our brain wave frequencies, are pulses that can open corridors to expanded levels of consciousness. The alpha brain wave frequency, which is achieved in meditation states, oscillates at approximately 8-13 hertz (cycles per second). The earth’s electromagnetic frequency is also at approximately 8 hertz. Our bodies and brains are most similar to the rhythms of the earth.

We are all made of the same stuff. The stuff of our bodies is the same stuff of the earth, the stars, the universe. We are composed of earth matter and the elements of the earth compose (calm) us. There is a deep healing that takes place when we experience the composition in the beauty of nature, around us and within us. When we exclude earth (elemental) consciousness, we set up cascades of ecological disharmony in our bodies. We cannot ignore the stuff that we are made of. When we ignore Gaia, the subtle effects occur at the deepest levels of our unconscious. The consequences can be profound in our peace of mind and corresponding physical health. Just as children cannot ignore that they have features from both of their biological parents, we cannot deny that our bodies are connected to the earth and its multitude of features. Holding our body with reverence is holding the earth with reverence. Holding the earth with reverence we are holding our body with reverence. They are the same symphony, orchestrated by the same Master. They are the same composition.

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
Francis of Assisi

“If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the Kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”
Jesus of Nazareth

If you don’t have time for ecological matters, remember that such ecological matters are you and you are them. When you reflect on the earth being a healthy body, the earth’s healthy body is your healthy body. This is the interdependence and interacting exchange that is interwoven in every aspect of conscious and daily living.
Darryl Luke Pokea

Jan Jennings, artist

As we build bridges between cultures, all people, who are all many teachers and masters like us who live here and always live on in their being, we are building bridges to the earth and the multitude of her Being that she hosts. All these bridges to one another are built first within the landscapes and ecologies of the Earth and they are within ourselves. These are the primal connections within that are the same primal connections to our Whole Mother Earth. There are over 50 trillion cells that make up our body and they have to be attended to in making ourselves healthy. As we attend to every cell in our body, we must attend to everybody, every animal, every plant, every grain of sand on the living earth as we pay attention to the stars, galaxy, and living Uni-Verse, all as Universal Being.

Jan Jennings, artist

You have to be a healthy relationship first within yourself in order to be a healthy relationship with anyone else. This is how consciousness must be both personal and collective at the same time, as we are interwoven and connected with everyone and every life form on the planet.

Begin with your body and all of its cell bodies and you begin also to acknowledge the interrelated ecosystems that are in and throughout all of your organs. As you do this, you will understand what is next in doing what you can to support the earth’s body and all her ecosystems of which you are a part. This is the heart of Earth as Gaia, Living Being. As you support health in each of yourselves, each of your organs, your whole body, you also support all of the earth’s cells, each of her ecosystems, and Her whole living body.

Jan Jennings, artist

In this view, the essential reality of nature is not separate, self-contained, and complete in itself, so that the human mind can examine it “objectively” and register it from without. Rather, nature’s unfolding truth emerges only with the active participation of the human mind. Nature’s reality is not merely phenomenal, nor is it independent and objective; rather, it is something that comes into being through the very act of human cognition. Nature becomes intelligible to itself through the human mind. In this perspective, nature pervades everything, and the human mind in all its fullness is itself an expression of nature’s essential being.
Richard Tarnas, 1996, p.434

We can build and live in harmony with nature.

“Fall Leaves” by Jan Jennings, artist

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Jan Jennings, artist

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