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August 23, 2005

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I spend time in nature, by myself. It's the closest I've come to a spiritual experience and to any kind of concept of a God. I take in the world around me- the river bubbling by, the animals roaming for food, the leaves twirling down from the trees and crunching beneath my feet... it's the best I can do at the moment.

When I was a child, I used to climb up tall hills, turn myself around and lie backwards with my head toward the bottom. Not only did I get an incredible head rush, but I also could feel a pull away from the earth and I could see myself floating off into space towards...a heaven perhaps.

I can't get to a God within a church. If I do find God, I'm sure it will be outside. I need to see it, feel it and do it. I can’t have someone tell me that it’s there and I don’t get moved by someone preaching to me.

Frank Lloyd Wright is quoted as saying "I believe in God, only I spell it nature."

Is this what you're talking about?

Yes, punkin dunkin, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Your "spiritual practice" is very much like my wife's. She meditates some each day, but spends much more time outdoors. Like you, she feels closest to a higher power when immersed in nature.

Thanks for sharing. There are so many ways to be spiritual--we need to accept and embrace every person's chosen path, so long as it doesn't obstruct anyone else's (which is why I object to religions intruding into politics.)

Having studied and practiced several systems of meditation I have come to the conclusion that the various systems are designed to first of all bring about concentration of the meditators mind. This "concentration" is not quite the same as that often understood by westerners but is in fact much as the word is defined in the Oxford dictionary ie" bringing to bear on one point, collect (attention, power, troops);~e ones thoughts or efforts (on, upon). Whilst one may concentrate on solving a problem (the most common understanding of the word)this is not what is meant by concentration in the meditative sense as the emphasis here is on one pointed concentration not indulging in the flow of thoughts that concentration on trying to solve a problem can produce. In fact concentration in meditation is to do with unification of mind which has the function of calming the mind, the very outcome that Brian refers to as becoming mentally quiet. To move from this concentrated state to the next stage is not something the meditator can bring about by an act of will and a certain "letting go" is needed although even this letting go has to be skilfully managed otherwise concentration is lost. At this stage an activation of the two faculties of mind that are applicable to observation of the mind itself is needed ie "seeing and hearing" . This is using a seeing and hearing faculty inherent to conciousness but not the seeing and hearing we engage in everyday life. The hearing faculty is in fact possibly more important than the seeing one as it pointed out in the Buddhist Surangama Sutra that the hearing faculty is all pervasive, permanent, complete and perfect. More on this later.

About 10 or 15 years ago I was more spiritual than I am today (I'm sorry to say). I guess something just took the wind out of my sails. However, that does not mean that I won't get back into something. I now take a Tai Chi class which is very helpful, and the people there are equally as inspiring.

During my more spiritual days I too would spend a lot of time outdoors. Many times it was just in my "front yard" in a little town 40 miles from Albuquerque, NM. It was wide open range. Granted, there were mobile homes around, but still, there was plenty of room. The night skies were (and are) spectacular! It was the first time I had seen the Milky Way.

Now, I have always enjoyed music. I can't read it or play it (although I try), but I do enjoy it. Aside from the rock 'n' roll that I listen to I enjoy what has been called "New Age" music. One of my favorite artists is a Japanese gentleman by the name of Kitaro. His music inspires me. And it was with his music that I would do my "God experiments".

I would generally lie on my bed and put on my headphones and just let the music drift over me. I would close my eyes and let whatever images the music conjured up just pop into my head. What I consider my most spiritual experience was when I was drowsing to his music. I was half asleep in the heat of the day and I suddenly felt I was floating. I could literally feel myself lifting off the bed. It was perfect!

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