Here is an experiment with “nature-as-living images”:
While walking along a trail in the woods, I happened to pass an area of plants in amidst the trees. They were on a slope at the base of a hill and encompassed an area of about 30 feet in diameter, with tree’s on three sides. For some reason, I felt a ‘something’ there, a ‘presence’. It was so strong I couldn’t help but stop. I knelt down and focused my mind on it. As I did this I looked toward the ground. At this point, I let whatever happen happen. What I mean by this is that I allow any thought or image to come to me. My first reaction is that it seemed ‘quiet’ in some way, sort of eery, as if no one was there. I said, without thinking about it: “There is something here like a kingdom, which goes beyond this area . . . Is this the center of the kingdom?” Then I said, “Something is going on”. I looked out over the area and said, “They are all in there somewhere”. I then looked to the ground and focused my mind on the ‘sense’. Then I saw an image in my mind, a tower in the middle of the area. “They are all in there . . . something is going on”. I focused even more on the image, “The King is dead . . . yes, the king is dead.” Then I said, “What, there has been an usurption . . . the King has been killed . . . they are all in there . . . a change of power . . . a great dilemma”. For some reason, this all made sense but yet it didn’t. I stood up and looked over the area and wondered “what does this mean?” As I looked out over the plants I noticed that the great bulk of them were yellowing, that is, dying . . . it’s autumn. I then thought, “Could it be? . . . Could the killing of the King be the killing of this years plants?” That is to say, they are dying because winter is coming. Next year new plants will appear with a “new King”, so to speak. The King, then, would represent the life of the plants in this area, born in the spring and who dies in the autumn.
Here we can see the process I did which went in this order:
- Sensing a ‘something’ or ‘presence’.
- I had a sense that there’s ‘more’ which made me move to the next step.
- I focused my concentration on the ‘something’ or ‘presence’ to find what was ‘more’.
- As I focused my mind I said what comes to me or allowed what images come to me as they come without thought or consideration of what I say or see.
- Interpret the statements or images (which usually comes afterwords, though meaning is often intuitively sensed as well).
I tend to believe that this process is nothing but a revealing of a peculiar form of awareness. In other words, “nature-as-living images” are just another form of awareness. Its an awareness that ‘uses another route of the mind’, so to speak. I do not look at them as ‘spirits’ or ‘beings’ but a ‘way of perceiving’. It appears differently because it uses a different aspect of the mind. In the example above it was like another way of saying, “it looks like the plants are dying – autumns here”. Its interesting that this thought never occurred to me until I interpreted it later. This shows that it uses an intuitive aspect of the mind, not the concsious ‘logical’ aspect, as I had to “reinterpret” it to fit the ‘logical’ way of thinking.
Though this is a simple observation, which some are, my experience is that they often can be quite revealing and often reveal great insight. I’ve often been stunned at how they can reveal a lot about the area, such as what’s 100 or so feet away, which I cannot see or know nothing about. Because of this, I can see that “nature-as-living images” can reveal ‘knowings’ of other aspects of the self, which the “normal” self is not aware of. To me, this is part of what interests me about it.
This process requires one to let what happens happen. That is to say, you have to let thoughts or images appear naturally, without thought, consideration, or alteration. One of the reasons why this is so important is that this free association allows things to bypass our normal state of mind. In so doing, it allows for more easy access to other states of our mind. As a result, its like opening up another aspect of the self . . . and this is what we are looking for.
But another thing that interests me is the way in which it appears. They appear as images one cannot see with the eyes but only in ones head: imagination. As a result, it requires an ability to focus on the images of ones imagination. Though that may sound easy its not something everyone can do.
As I said above, I tend to believe that these images are reflective of an older part of the mind. By older I mean that it originates from a state of mind from early in our life, before we have begun to “think” about things. As a result, they reflect an early form of “imaginative thought”, in many ways, which manifests itself in imagination and dream-like representation. Later, as we grow, we begin to think about things, basing our thoughts on experiences, rules, knowledge, etc. rather than imagination. When this happens our mind slowly moves from imagination to formal thought. Typically when this happens, imagination tends to waver and can practically disappear. In the modern world, which emphasizes formal thought so much, the imagination suffers even more. In fact, one of the reasons why I like to experiment with these types of things is to try and stay in ‘contact’ with older forms of awareness and thought so that I do not succumb to the dead modern-style of thinking.
Often, one intuitively knows what the images mean, generally as they appear. In other words, you automatically know what certain images mean and their significance . . . no thought or reflection is required. But, at other times, there is often a need to ‘understand’ the imagination, to make it ‘logical’. In other words, one needs to put it in a context that ones ‘logical’ formal thought can relate to. In many ways, this need for ‘understanding’ shows how we are ‘bridging’ the gap from the older self to the newer self. As a result, nature-as-living imagination creates two forms of interpretations:
- The older self – Imagination itself: Intuition.
- The newer self – Interpreting the imagination: Insight.
In the former, one can understand the imagination by intuition . . . one just knows what it means, often in a wordless way. In the later, one has to interpret it in the light of ones thought. In other words, you have to say, “this means that”. This creates insight. My experience is that interpreting can be very difficult. This is why I often say this:
The great feat is not in having insight but in interpreting it.
It more or less says that though it can be difficult to get “nature-as-living images”, its often more difficult trying to interpret it. Its not uncommon that a person has to ‘seek’ deep within themselves to find the meaning. As a result, interpreting “nature-as-living” images often brings us back to the older self.
Whats interesting is that there are certain assumptions that seemed automatic with these “nature-as-living images”. These are assumptions that just “appear” as if naturally. I never thought or knew about them. These assumptions are:
- They (the living images or creatures) are “attached” to some thing, such as a plant, an area, a body of water, or a boulder (which is what I have found). That is, they are not ‘independent in the world’.
- They often seem to “take care of” whatever they are attached to. In this way, they are generally like caretakers.
- They generally belong to a group of some sort. They are often in a village or even a kingdom (as in the example above).
I was often struck how some of these images resembled the traditional fairy, troll, and such. When these images appeared I was aware of these things but only as something in a story (sort of like stories of aliens). I did not see any more into it. Some time in the early 1990’s I chanced upon a book where a man described his “actual” observations of these people. I couldn’t believe that someone claimed they actually saw them. He said it was clairvoyance. I was struck by some of the similarities. In some cases, though, there were no similarity.
I tend to think that one thing that helps create the similarity is culture. Cultural character tends to cause a tendency for people to interpret things similarly or see things in the same light, even centuries apart. Because of this people of a specific culture will interpret things similarly.
Another thing that can cause similarity is a ‘similarity’ with the item it represents or that inspires it. Many of these “nature-as-living images” reflected qualties of what it was representing. For example:
- Above a group of small plants or vegetation (sometimes with flowers), I tend to see a bunch of small tiny creatures flying around above them, almost like bee’s – amazingly similar to the traditional image of the fairy. The myriad small plants that move about in the breeze, as well as the bee’s probably, creates a similarity with the image it invokes.
- Large boulders tend to create this sense of a large creature with rough skin (much like a rock) that are usually dumb-like, as rocks are not ‘living’. This is similar to the traditional image of a troll.
- A moist muddy-like area, next to water, and in a vegetative area, tends to invoke this image of a small fat man. He often seems to be a worker of some sort. He seems associated with the earth. I’ve often thought this is because the earth is ‘workable’, and his fatness is the soils or earths ‘mass’.
- Water often creates this image of a young boy who as if glows. I often felt this is a result of the reflection of the sun in the water and that water movement is ‘youthful’-lively and active.
This suggests that the image of the “nature-as-living image” is a reflection of what it represents, which makes sense. In a way, its a ‘personification’ of what it represents, sort of like a ‘caricature’. This ‘personification’ shows that its another aspect of how the mind interprets things in the world. More specifically, it refers to a deeper aspect of the mind, far removed from our normal state of mind, which is why our normal state of mind often can’t relate to it that way.
We must also remember that, because these are imaginations of an older self, they reflect older mental conditions. In our older mental conditions we had no defined self. This made it so that we tended to equate the world with us. As a result, we saw life in the world . . . our life. In this way, they appear as ‘living’ because they are actually projections of ones self. Because of this, “nature-as-living” images can reflect aspects of ourselves, even our mood at the time. What this means is that “nature-as-living images” can range from awareness of the world to an awareness of our self. Generally, its a mixture of the two. In many cases, they represent our reaction to something – a tree, a pond, etc. – and an intuition of what it is and why your react to it that way.