Sacred landscapes

Honza Látal

Finding inner peace in outer wilderness.

To connect with the mystery and to communicate with something higher, we traditionally visit sacred places like churches, sanctuaries, meditation centres or ashrams. Originally they were built in contrast to the chaos of the secular environment to represent the cosmic order where spirits are hosted, and we can get in touch with them. A centre is chosen, four cardinal directions are defined and a small model of the cosmos is created to give us orientation in the dangers of the wilderness. The sanctuary is there to give us hope and to offer understanding. But what is the chaos for a modern person? What is our jungle and what are the beasts in it that we fear? It’s not easy to enter a meaningful sacred space in a city as it is usually another building who’s symbolism we don’t quite understand. There is a natural tendency to escape the chaotic jungle and seek a meaningful environment where we can connect to the source. Entering a forest, spending time with a favourite tree or observing the lunar eclipse is a chance to experience a deeper meaning. With openness to inner and outer messages, it can be a practice similar to visiting a church. Nature is revealing the deepest secrets through its universal language, and to understand it, is only a matter of listening.

Whenever we go out to explore a hidden corner in some wild forest, catch the sunset from a favourite viewpoint or to enjoy the rocks or meanders of a river, there comes a crossroad. We can go left and enter these places as a visitor who uses the environment as a background, as scenery for our impression, pleasure and entertainment… Or, we can go right and enter the sacred space of our own nature where the boundaries melt, where we are one with the surroundings and where every moment offers a profound experience of interconnection, meaning, healing and enlightenment.

Let us go the right way for a while, open our awareness to the potential of entering the landscape with an inner goal instead of an outer one. Right there where the path splits into two, we can become a pilgrim and leave the tourist and sportsmen to go to the left. Opening our intuition and senses to the signs and messages around immediately creates the feeling of communication. There is no need for a map, we know exactly where to go.. Paths may even become a limitation and their markings misleading, because they don’t show us the way in, they only go on through. We carefully cross the strip of grass dividing the path from the unknown space, and miracles start to happen.

All trees have a perfect shape, all plants grow in the right place and all flies have their perfect mission, the air vibrates with energy and you can feel every molecule.

You hear a bird of prey, two sharp sounds telling you that the adventure has just begun, and it’s a confirmation and blessing for the journey. Your senses are awakened, you remember being an animal in one of your previous lives, knowing that the forest is your home, your natural environment and you understand it fully. All trees have a perfect shape, all plants grow in the right place and all flies have their perfect mission, the air vibrates with energy and you can feel every molecule. There is the sound of water from somewhere near, you understand the never-ending cycle of soft, calm strength which carved out the whole valley. The stones here have beautiful shapes, you touch some and feel each their unique character. Then comes a different sound: woodpecker drumming is a call to a new level.

You sit down and focus on a little plant which is trying to make its way through the wet soil and old leaves. Where does it come from? How does it know when to begin its yearly resurrection from hidden roots? Then you realize that it speaks with the sun because it comes from the same source, made from the same elements and filled with the same spirit. It’s not two parts of the same spirit, not two different wisdoms in separate bodies, it is one, always was and always will be. And then comes a third sound – a cuckoo’s wake up call. At that moment, it all starts making sense.

There is no separation between you, the plant, the sun and the spirit of it all. You are as all the various parts of the same wholeness, reflections of the same light

There is no separation between you, the plant, the sun and the spirit of it all. You are as all the various parts of the same wholeness, reflections of the same light. You are filled with the same intelligence that moves the planets and makes trees grow. Like the former pilgrims, yogis, hermits, artists and all the other searchers who went out to find the way in, you experienced the universal principles and connected to the ultimate wisdom. This was only possible because the core of it was always within you, and there is nothing which is separate from it.

There is only one thin line between unity and duality, separation and connection, ignorance and understanding. This line can be dissolved by listening to the call for reconnection, openness to messages from the wilderness and acting in harmony with our true nature.

What are the shapes, colours, textures and smells of the stones in your region?

Do you like the full moon or the new moon more?

What is the landscape that you get homesick for?

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Innovative approaches in learning for Sustainability
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