I’m going to begin excerpting some little bite-sized passages from my new book, A Country Where All Colors Are Sacred and Alive (available from my publisher Lorian Press, from Amazon.com, and in Fayetteville at Nightbird books). This won’t be a serialization, but a gradual collaging of various accounts of non-ordinary experiences, including some that relate to attunement and collaboration with the subtle, sentient forces of Nature. In this time of climate change, many people are now contemplating how to contribute to environmental harmony. My book offers some simple pointers for doing so in ways which can complement, though in no way replace, environmental activism. These ways, which involve blessing, prayer, and other inner Work, first came to my attention when I spent time at the Findhorn Community in Scotland in 1969-70. So I will commence my collaging here with a few passages from my book on the Findhorn Community. Here we go:
Writing this book has heightened my interest in the constructive possibilities of what David Spangler and Dorothy Maclean (an original founder of the Findhorn Community in Morayshire, Scotland) call “attunement” with Nature and its subtle sentient energies. You’ll come upon descriptions of some of my own attunements in these pages.
When she visited us and taught in Arkansas in 1980, Dorothy explained attunement as a simple process of going within to a relatively quiet, meditative space; getting in touch with a sense of what she calls “the living silence,” or the Sacred; then briefly holding a clear intention to commune with whatever one wishes. This may be as all-inclusive as the Sacred itself, or as particularized as a being of any kind. Next, one lets go of one’s intention, rather like one needs to drop a letter in the mailbox in order for the message in it to reach its destination. Finally, one rests in receptivity and notes whatever response may come by way of insights, impressions, images, words, the felt sense of a particular presence, energetic sensations, or physical effects like goose bumps.
The above process bears some similarity to the practice of Samyama described by the ancient Indian sage Patanjali in the third book of his Yoga Sutras. It also features some parallels to Eugene Gendlin’s practice of Focusing. There are many different ways to attune, but they all involve receptivity. Dorothy has written about her experiences with attunement in the collectively authored book The Findhorn Garden, and in her own books To Hear the Angels Sing, Choices of Love, and Seeds of Inspiration.
You can find a transcript of “The Doorway Process,” and another foundational exercise for attuning to the Divinity within, in Appendix One of Dorothy’s autobiography, Memoirs of an Ordinary Mystic (2010). Dorothy has found it possible to attune to any being after making a conscious connection with the Source of all beings. She writes, “Since most of us think of God as the highest spiritual reality, it might sound strange to ‘start at the top.’ You could think of it instead as beginning at the beginning: whatever has been made by God can be met through God.” I highly recommend this inspiring book about the not at all ordinary life of a blessed and beautiful soul. A voice recording of Dorothy leading “The Doorway Process” is also available, through the Lorian Association. The first part of this recording provides a fine guided introduction to her way of attunement.
Freya Secrest of the Lorian Association taught and traveled with Dorothy for ten years. In a communication to me, she wrote:
“Her whole approach is about connecting to the God within first. From there the contact with the nature world flows. Her links are through beauty, wonder, awe, and love. This is the first part of The Doorway Process and it illustrates her approach to attunement: get oneself resonating with the energies of love, wonder and beauty, all core generative energies of life, and one is able to be in tune with the life force at the heart of everything in the universe.”
Love and blessing open us. They allow us access to life force, and thus to all life forms. Have you read The Secret Life of Plants? It came out in 1973, and in it authors Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird described interactions and experiments with plants conducted by Luther Burbank and George Washington Carver, and later, people like Cleve Backster and Marcel Vogel. In a number of these pioneering experiments, plants showered with love grew faster, larger, and hardier than those in control groups which received no love (or worse, were bombarded with feelings of hate or violence). I know a few of the many people who successfully replicated these experiments after reading The Secret Life of Plants.
Actually, before I saw the book , I was already among the converted due to the time I’d spent living at the Findhorn Community. There in 1965, a garden planted on sandy soil with organic additives of little more than cow manure, grass clippings, and seaweed tested out completely satisfactorily for all nutrients, including rare trace elements, though the Morayshire County Agricultural Advisor considered this impossible at that time.
While at Findhorn, I participated in making the first batch of compost there, based on a recipe of specific organic materials that Dorothy received in an attunement. During my stays at the community in 1969 and 1970, I witnessed the amazing size and quality of vegetables that grew in the ambient field of love and cooperation which we co-created with the devas and spirits of Nature.