In the modern world, the truth about humans and nature is often overlooked. In order to understand the connection between oneself and the natural world, we must refrain from detaching one from the other. Ideally, when one realizes that they’re apart of an idea larger than just themselves, harmony will ensue. Most call this revelation ‘oneness’. The unifying power of oneness lives in all beings. When we ignore this innate connection to the Earth, imposing ourselves upon it rather than working with it and refusing to spend quality time in nature, we undermine the very elements in which we come from. It was simple, my brush with oneness, but seemingly vital to my well-being once the sensation had been unearthed. One ordinary hiking trip turned into the foundation on which I built the next two years of my life.
We visited two places; Hawn State Park and Elephant Rock State Park.
Upon our arrival to Hawn State, I stepped out of the car to find that the world was green and wild. Vines, branches, leaves and trees existed in every nook and cranny. As we entered the forest and fell deeper in, we passed a pond of majestic, violet lilies floating upon delicate pads. A stream ran noisily over rocks we used for stepping stones; We jumped from rock to rock, splashing our feet lightly along the way. Time slowed to an unreadable pace as we dove further into the heart of the woods.
Standing atop the branches of an enormous fallen grandfather tree, a black birch I might’ve dubbed it from the sweet, woody scent that enriched the air, was the moment I first felt this sense of oneness. The sensation inside of me was near indescribable; The world around me seemed to melt, falling silent as the Earth grew more luminous by the second.
“In, and out. In, and out”, the trees seemed to whisper with a steady rhythm.
Their words coaxed me into a new form of meditation, one that bred on an Earth that was alive and healthy. From every corner of my vision, vibrant, raw beauty danced like woodland sprites in their delicate manner. The smell of freshly saturated soil tickled my nose. From far above came warm, radiant beams of orange and yellow sunlight that flooded my soul with unrelenting vivacity. Massive chunks of wood decorated with lively green leaves loomed above my head, as my lungs fell into a calm pace, one that very much matched the one of the living beings around me. Eleanor stood quietly beside me, falling in step the nature as well, sighing heavily in awe of the forests’ grandeur.
I looked up once again at the foliage around me, breathing in it’s loveliness. The sensation I experienced goes by no better name than Oneness. This concept is about understanding the interconnectedness of yourself, nature and the universe. We live and experience oneness in our everyday lives when we respect Mother Earth, when we allow the outside forces of the world to guide our flow of creativity, as well as when we show compassion towards our peers. The trouble comes about when we begin thinking ourselves from nature, undermining its importance when in fact, we are nature. It is why so many of us constantly destroy our environment with things such as harmful greenhouse gases, littering and refraining from recycling. Oneness is the idea that there is harmony and that every being on the Earth, humans, animals and plants alike, coexists peacefully because we are one in the same. Following my revelation in the woods, I felt as if I had finally awoken and the oneness of the universe consumed me. As expressed in Nichiren’s Buddhist principles, he states “The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds.” By this, he means that because the universe and self coexist under the same veil, then in order for the land to be pure, the mind of the people must be pure as well.