“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature,” wrote Rachel Carson while reminding us how to rediscover the mystery of the natural world that sustains our planet. “The assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
Whenever we go out in nature, it has a strange capacity of making us, at least for a few moments, become completely still, not thinking, and just delighting in the state of being and oneness with the universe. For our tired bodies, minds, and souls, there is something soothing and inexplicably captivating in the changing cycles of day and night, winter and summer, life and death. Life and death… Do we really know what these two words mean, or are they just mental labels obscuring nature’s wisdom?
This is what Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher of immense wisdom and insight, takes up in his nature meditation included in his sublime collection Stillness Speaks. In this meditation, he teaches us how to truly see the infinite abundance of life and witness the essence of life and death that drives forth the perpetual cycles of renewal behind all creation.
by Eckhart Tolle
When you walk through a forest that has not been tamed and interfered with by man, you will see not only abundant life all around you, but you will also encounter fallen trees and decaying trunks, rotting leaves and decomposing matter at every step. Wherever you look, you will find death as well as life.
Upon closer scrutiny, however, you will discover that the decomposing tree trunk and rotting leaves not only give birth to new life, but are full of life themselves. Microorganisms are at work. Molecules are rearranging themselves. So death isn’t to be found anywhere. There is only the metamorphosis of life forms. What can you learn from this?
Death is not the opposite of life. Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal.