Everything is so inseparably united. As soon as we begin to describe a flower or a tree or a storm or an Indian or a chipmunk, up jumps the whole heaven and earth and God Himself in one inseparable glory.
— John Muir from My First Summer in the Sierra
Learn to see God in all manifestation, in all people, through all events. The ordinary person sees only the lump of matter. Not so with the awakened soul. He sees in all things the Divine Mind at work molding out into expression what it feels itself to be of life, of color, of form and beauty. There are some illusioned ones who claim that what we see is all false, and that the so-called material universe is an unreality. What a mistake! What we see is the body of God, full, free, complete, whole.
“A primrose by the river’s brim,
A yellow primrose was to him,
And it was nothing more.”
He never saw the idea behind–it was seen only as matter, matter, matter; yet what he could have seen was God’s thought of himself coming out into wonderful beauty, and color, and form; The Infinite One manifesting in an infinite variety of forms. What do you see when you look upon the human form, the crowning glory of God’s perfect creation? Matter, matter, matter? Flesh, blood and bones? Indeed, these may be passing into expression, but what of the idea, what of the reality of the body? This body of ours is as real as God is real. It would not be if it were an illusion. The very touch of the flesh should send a thrill through the whole body, bringing up its vibration to a higher pitch, to a finer form. The body is not one “mass of pollution,” it is the temple of the living God and should be so thought of. Too long have we condemned it, and now we must free it by reversing the process. Of all things on earth the human body is the most beautiful, the most wonderful and the most God-like.
“If you do not love your brother whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you have not seen?” Human magnetism is not hypnotism, it is the divinity of man in expression; and when we learn to convert human passion into divine love, to transmute the lower into the higher, we shall have with us a power of attraction against which nothing can stand.
“He who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
When we behold a beautiful sunset we should see the wonderful thought of God, the radiance of his presence. In the strength of the hills we should see the strength of the Spirit; and seeing all things as spiritual ideas, we should learn to love them, because God has made them and given them to us to use. The soul who in ecstasy can rush up to a tree and embrace it realizes more of God than all the bigoted priests who have ever lived. The one who can sniff the ocean breeze with delight feels the presence of the divine being more keenly than does the one who kneels in despair before an awful God of Justice.
Learn then how to appreciate Nature and Nature’s God. Spend much time in the out of doors; look up at the stars; let them be your companions; tread the pathless ways of the trees and the giant forests and see God in everything that you look upon, the God of the everywhere.
— Ernest Shurtleff Holmes from Creative Mind
Last May, I saw a dragonfly as long as my hand — longer than an average-sized songbird. She circled and circled, flexing her body, trying to decide if my little lake was worthy of her precious eggs. She was almost absurdly colorful, sporting a bright green thorax and blue abdomen. Eventually she lit on the tip of the horsetail plant that sends long slender spikes up out of the water. She was joined on the tips of five adjacent stalks by five other dragonflies, all different: an orange-bodied one with orange wings, a yellow one, a blue-green one, one with a red head and purple tail, and a miniature one in zippy metallic blue. A dragonfly bouquet. Be still, and the world is bound to turn herself inside out to entertain you. Be still, and the world is bound to turn herself inside out to entertain you. Everywhere you look, joyful noise is clanging to drown out quiet desperation. The choice is to draw the blinds and shut it all out, or believe. What to believe in, exactly, may never turn out to be half as important as the daring act of belief. A willingness to participate in sunlight, and the color red. An agreement to enter into a conspiracy with life, on behalf of both frog and snake, the predator and the prey, in order to come away changed.
— Barbara Kingsolver from High Tide in Tucson
Nature draws no limits — makes no absolute separations. All God made is related. All that is God-made is joined and one-d by forces inescapable as gravitation.
— John Muir from The Contemplative John Muir