Nature, Culture, and Spirit

Of the all-abiding oneness we might say there are three primary divisions: Nature, Culture, and Spirit.

Spirit is the foundation.  Spirit brings us past the sensible form we are used to thinking of as “reality,” and into the hidden energetic realm within all forms and beyond all forms. Spirit is the essence of matter, of all things.  It is the ocean of vibration, the waves that continue despite our attempts to particularize, to define, to control and limit.  Our access to spirit comes most fully through the practice of meditation, as meditation trains us to go beyond habitual boundaries of thought, emotion, language and action; to taste oneness firsthand, and to dwell within it.

Nature is the sensible and material realm we live in, despite our persistent attempts to wall it out, to tame and exploit it for our private human benefit.  Though we have taught our kind to fear it, to escape it and to master it, Nature remains our constant home, our ever-forgiving Mother. Perhaps the chief characteristic of our true and sustainable relation to Nature is a sense of belonging.  Only with the attitude of belonging can we heal our dangerous split with Nature and begin to resurrect the symbiosis that all life shares, by practicing survival strategies grounded in respect and care of the Nature that sustains us.

Culture is the outer layer of skin on the earth, the sum of practices we bring to our biological and psychological survival.  Human culture, though in large measure it appears to have divorced itself from underlying Nature, is itself but a phenomenon of Nature.  The social animals, whether termites or lions, provide a clear example to us that to survive and flourish in a state of Nature requires cooperation and bonding within one’s own species.  Our practice of culture, whether “primitive” or “civilized,” entails the honing of craft … making arrows or learning piano scales.

To ground our scattered contemporary lives more fully in these essential realms – Spirit, Nature, and Culture – requires first of all seeing the necessity of all three in a healthy human life.  Lacking sufficient connection with either one results in the impoverishment of our health and quality of life. Yet we are programmed from birth (in modern Western society, at least), to discount spirit in favor of material values; to spurn Nature in favor of the clever works of man; to enjoy culture as passive consumers instead of creative participants.

To overturn these paradigms means replacing toxic body-memory with direct connection, expanding identity from self-concern to mindful presence and engagement with the whole, through all three of these primary channels and practices: Spirit, through meditation; Nature, through a sense of belonging; Culture, through our chosen craft.

To apply these principles to my own life (by way of example), I might cultivate these practices as follows:

Meditation: daily routine, spontaneous awareness, journal writing, reading, music improvisation

Belonging: nurturing relationship, food strategy, outdoor time, exercise, sun, attention to natural health

Craft: writing, editing, music practice, composition, publishing, social sharing

To go further in implementing these practices, I might follow a schedule such as:

Morning: meditation and yoga, music composition and practice, writing and publishing, editing and promotion

Afternoon: improvisation, food gathering and preparation, outdoors/sun, exercise, relationship

Evening: relationship, social sharing, music, journal, reading, relaxation

further reading: Eco-Culture


  1. jackson woo 9 June 2009 11:45 pm

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  2. xango juice 26 September 2009 3:50 pm

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  3. Valera4 27 April 2010 10:54 pm
  4. Valera5 28 April 2010 10:03 am
  5. Valera6 28 April 2010 1:46 pm

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