Sunday, November 1, 2009

Helping Children Find Spirituality Through Nature by Susan Gale



Helping Children Find Spirituality through Nature

When Edgar Cayce was asked, while in a trance state, what was the best way to teach children about spirituality, he responded in Reading 5747-1 by saying,
Then, as to the development of the mind of the child, develop its imaginative forces rather than the material or objective forces. Acquaint such a mind with the activities in nature, and train especially in the laws of recompense as is seen in nature day by day. Also in those activities that make for a clean body, a clean mind, and the same recompense as in nature should be required in the activities of the developing mind of the individual. A clean, healthy body makes for a better indwelling of a healthy, clean mind, so that the spirit may manifest the better.
Nowhere better than in nature may we show our children how living within the Universal Laws provides us with life’s abundance. We can also show how when a seed falls in a place lacking the necessary balance, it will not flourish. These parallels between nature and our own lives about abundance and balance are endless.
Watching the rhythms in the natural cycles can lead to becoming aware of the cycles in one’s own body. Watching the perseverance of a squirrel trying to get to its food can lead to talks about perseverance in one’s life. Understanding the place each being has in the whole plan can help the child understand there is a master plan and that each of us is essential in maintaining that balance. Seeing what happens in a stream that is not kept clean is a startling reminder of what can happen in one’s own body when it is not kept clean inside and out.
Through nature, you can help your child focus and learn to remain still. Birds are fascinating creatures to watch, but they fly away instantly when there are sudden movements or loud noises. I can remember spending much time with my son, and then my granddaughters, watching birds in the yard. We also would watch the butterflies taking long drinks from the flowers near our front door. We would set out sweets and watch the ants cart it all back to their homes. Each of these events requires the same focus, the same stillness as is required for meditation.
When exploring nature with your child, it does not matter if anyone knows the right names. You can make up your own as you begin your adventures! In one of the state parks where we often took the children hiking, there was a tree shaped like a flamingo’s neck. Of course, each summer the experienced camper could not wait to tell the new children about our very own “flamingo tree.” Yet it is also a good feeling to find a plant, animal, insect, or bird in a guidebook and learn its correct name.
Patterns are another wonderful aspect of nature. Not only are there the infinite patterns in the tree bark, shadows, and leaves, but also the patterns of the cycles. Nothing about the natural world is wasted in its patterns of growth, decomposition and renewal. And while the realities of the food chain are not always pleasant to encounter, it does provide a great tool to talk about the nature of intent. For in the food chain, the intent is to survive rather than to harm or to make sport of causing death.
With the intuitive child, nature can bring even more delights. Many of the children can see the fairy families as well as the other wee folk that live in the yard. They can easily sense, see, and/or feel the auras of the plants and trees and can learn to read the health of these beings as easily as they can the health of people. It is also a wonderful time to learn to communicate with the animals, insects and other life forms.
Children can find plants that heal by this kind of communication as well as plants that will provide nourishment. While it is always wise to confirm their impressions, they will eventually learn what friendly plants “feel” like and what the harmful ones “feel” like as well.
That some children do know how to use plants to help themselves without any instruction is illustrated by the following story. One summer, three-year-old Ella got upset about something no one understood. While in the car with her mother, she just started bawling. By the time she got to her grandmother’s house, she was almost out of control; yet she still could not tell anyone what was wrong. Her family then tried many things to help her calm down, but to no avail. Her grandmother finally just opened the door and sent her out into the front yard. As she walked outside, Ella took a deep breath, walked over to a Cosmos and buried her face in the center of one of the flowers. She then took some of the petals and rubbed them all over her face. After standing there for a minute or two, Ella then returned to the house completely calm and refreshed.
Knowing how to communicate with the animals greatly enriches a child’s experiences when outside or even in places like a zoo. Once, when our school visited the Bronx Zoo, I commented that I would like to have seen one of the animals at a closer range. Several minutes later, one of the boys ran up to me and said, “it took me all this time to convince it to come to see you, and it will be really mad if you do not come!” With that he took my arm and led me back to the animal, which was indeed
Nature can also teach children another perspective on time. In the natural world, beings eat when they are hungry, rest when tired, and play when so moved! Life is not regulated artificially by a clock, but rather by the inner clock that is present within each of us. The sense of timelessness prevails in the natural setting.
If we desire to teach our children an appreciation of life and its cycles and rhythms, then spending time outdoors is one of the best places to do so. It does not need to be in a wilderness setting. A square foot of ground will also suffice, for it also contains an ecosystem from which much can be learned and appreciated. Whether children possess intuitive abilities or not, they can each learn to become more at one with the cycle of life that keeps our planet thriving.


Bibliography
Brown, Tom, with Judy Brown. Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature and Survival for Children. The Berkley Publishing Group. New York, 1989
Susan Gale, co-author of Psychic Children and Soulful Parenting, is the manager of A Place of Light in Cherry Valley, MA. With 30+ years of professional experience working with families as a teacher, camp director and owner of a children’s center that included a pre-K through grade accredited school, she currently helps people of all ages understand, develop and control their intuitive gifts. For more info, please visit www.placeoflight.net.

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