Developing our sensitivities

Developing our subtle sensitivities, or subtle senses, is a main principle and aim in geomancy. Each of us must take responsibility for our own wakefulness and sensitivity in this work of service to the Earth. Each of us needs to develop our own potential senses that are beyond the ordinary. As we grow up from childhood, our ordinary senses are gradually developed, but even these ordinary senses can be developed further with intentional practice. Our extra-ordinary senses need more attention and practice, in order to develop, especially because our culture tends to ignore these as being important or even as existing. Yet we need all the senses and sensitivity possible to us, in order to understand how to best be in harmony with other beings of nature and also with the subtler energies of nature.

Fundamentally, we need a highly developed sensitivity to others and to the energies surrounding us, so that we can have a true ability to actually be of service for life and the planet. So we need study and practice to develop our understanding and sensitivities of the world around us, and develop higher values and qualities within, in order to use our powers intelligently and benevolently.

Understanding comes with education, personal study and direct experience, and requires an open, curious mind, willing to learn anew from anywhere or anyone. Understanding requires continuous humility, never assuming we now know it all because of a few enlightening experiences or an academic education. Life is continually offering learning opportunities, and whenever we stop learning we stop our own evolution and excitement in living.

Conscious sensitivity

Pervading throughout the Earth is one primary energy. There are many names for this energy, such as prana, chi, etheric energy, or vital energy. It gives power to life. Also, this a subtle electromagnetic (em) energy, as it has some analogous properties of both electricity and magnetism. In general, this is the same as what we might call planetary energies or earth energies. People use different names for different purposes, so it is important to know that, usually, people are speaking about the same energy but using different names.

Significant to understand is that this is one great connective energy, interconnecting every single life and part of the planet. It is moving through us and we are in it. Everything and everyone is sensitive to this planetary energy, in that everyone is inevitably affected by it, without choice. However, not everyone is consciously sensitive to it. If we can be consciously sensitive to it, then it is possible to work purposefully with it and also to enhance our experience of life. We then can also make use of this energy consciously for healing and for expansion of consciousness.

Our sensitivity to the surrounding environment can be developed and enhanced through practice and use. These sensitivities include the physical senses and the subtle senses. We need to improve our sensitivities, in order to recognize and understand the natural kingdoms and energies, so that we may serve and help these. Sensitivity is a direct way of knowing our world and the different unique qualities and needs of what we encounter; instead of perceiving the world in merely an intellectual, academic, abstract or generalized manner. Real sensitivity is an ability to meet the actual livingness, not merely an abstract idea of it.

We also use our sensitivities for discovering the various influences subtly affecting us. As we become more conscious of various influences, we begin to have control over them and can even transform them, use them for our good, and live in harmony with them. The more sensitive and conscious we become, the more in control we can become in our own self, instead of being unconsciously dominated by scattered influences around us, and we can better help others to do likewise. Overall harmony can be enhanced, if we acquire the sensitivities to know what is going on around us, so that we can design an integrated, cooperating environment for all to benefit.

Consciousness and breath are essential to being sensitive to energies and lives around us, and also in directing healing and visualizations in geomancy work. Breath is also an integral part of sensitivity, for conscious breath enhances and develops sensitivity. Conscious breath is the key to being fully present and grounded, and it is also the key to subtle sensitivity; because through the conscious breath, we become more presently sensitive to the energies around us and also sensitive to the energies inside our own self.

Awareness and sensitivity to place

Be aware and sensitive of the presence of place. This involves three aspects of place. First, be sensitive to the etheric-vital energy of the place, also known as prana, chi, earth energy, or life energy. Our main receptive centre for this is called the hara centre, just below the belly button, yet our whole body can be sensitive to the energy, especially our hands and the soles of our feet. The soles of our feet are especially significant, because they receptively connect us to the earth below. Thus, we can consciously sense the earth energy rising up through our feet, and we can also sensitively ground ourselves through our feet to the earth below. The Native wisdom says to be conscious of the Earth below, as we stand or walk or sit, and through our feet we can actually sense the living energy of Earth. Conscious breath is also very important, both for sensitivity and for intentional use of this energy. How to actually make use of the vital earth energy of a place is something to ponder upon and perhaps experiment with. Hints and suggestions will be made in various parts of these writings, but for now just experiment consciously with sensitivity and breath.

Next, it is possible to feel the emotional quality of a place. This is the feeling of a place. Each place will have particular qualities, usually a mixture of qualities but often one quality will be more apparent. Yet don't complicate this with thinking; just feel whatever you feel in the presence of this place. Perhaps you can feel the love and the beauty of the place.

Third, we can be sensitively open to the spirit-consciousness of this place. This could be thought of as the mind or intelligence of the place. Each spirit-of-place has consciousness and intelligence. Here is a practical suggestion. Allow yourself to be 'seen', and also be open to hearing any natural wisdom offered by the spirit-of-place.

Kinds of Sensitivity

Sensitivity comes into play in three major ways. First, one can be sensitive to the actual energies and lives around us. This is not abstract or generalized, but is a real feeling of specific phenomena. One can have a very real sensory feeling of a tree, or of the subtle energy at a place. This is a very real and intimate feeling-sense of a life or energy outside us, which we can then give our open awareness to.

The second kind of sensitivity is to do with our actual interaction with something, or a person, or an energy. For example, we can be sensitive our feet touching the ground or our hands touching a plant or digging in the dirt. It is being sensitive to what one is actually doing or interacting with. Again, this is not abstract but is a definite sensed feeling of how one physically connects with things. Where as the first kind of sensitivity is to what is in front of one or what one gives attention to, this second sensitivity is to how one is interacting with this. So, when I touch a flower, I am sensitive to the life and energy of that flower and also to the sensation of my hand touching it. If I were digging with a trowel I could be sensitive to the ground I am digging, as well as my hands holding the trowel and how it feels to dig soil.

The third kind of sensitivity is to do with what this tree or place asks of us, or of what is needed. In other words, we can be sensitive to needs. We can know the needs of something or a place, through our sensitivity.

These three possibilities of sensitivity can work together simultaneously. It can all be very simple; although it needs to be practiced and developed consciously. There is at least some sensitivity in all of us, happening at a subliminal, subconscious level, but it can only be further developed and integrated consciously, and we have this opportunity all the time to be more sensitive, which serves both our own growth and that of those around us.

Receptive mind

Sensitivity is developed with intentional practice. The practiced method of sensitivity is quite simple. It is to be sensitive. To be open to what is, and allow this into our experience and feeling. It is like touching what is in our perception. It is to sense and feel something with extra intensity.

Practices of sensitivity are types of involving a receptive mind, but with open-eyes and open-senses, rather than eyes and senses being closed. So, rather than mind being inward, the mind is outward, but still in a meditative state.

Basically, all types of receptive meditation involve quiet mind, receptivity, and openness. But this external kind of receptive meditation is in relation to the outer natural world, rather than focused inwardly.

To be sensitively open and receptive will require our sincere respect of nature and our faith in the fundamental goodness in nature. We will need to believe in the goodness and healing energies of nature, which helps us to be in a receptively open state of mind, feeling and sensitivity in relation to the natural world around us.

Also important in any receptive meditation is conscious breath. Remember that this is a conscious way of being in the world, and we can practice this kind of open-eyed, open senses meditation with conscious intention.

Sensitivity to the energies and presence of a place has to involve quietude and emptiness, as well as receptivity. Quietude is not just about holding a physical silence; it requires a mental silence. One has to be able to sit or stand or walk in a place with an absolutely quiet mind. The mind needs to be absolutely quiet, absolutely silent. This means being empty in thought; which is no thought. We call this the empty, silent, receptive mind. All three of these are necessary: being empty, silent, and receptive. Then, from this state of mind, or this state of being, true and sensitive experience starts to unfold. We begin to experience what is really present, when we are finally empty, silent, and receptive. For until we are in such a profound state, our chattering thinking mind gets in the way of real experience.

The chattering thinking mind destroys real experience, because it is always analyzing, describing, or commenting on what is present. So, this thinking mind is, most often, making commentary about what is seen; either an outer or inner commentary. Or even worse, it is regurgitating about the past or worrying about the future. Thus, the experience in any moment is predominately a thinking experience. That is, the content of this experience is thought, commentary, description, analysis, or some kind of association with past memories. Or else the mind is having to think about the future -- about what to do next, or the next step in the planned agenda. Thus, the mind is always occupied in one of these ways; so we very seldom stay absolutely present in the moment in order to truly experience that moment or that place in its absolute realness, without our thinking or our commentaries overlaying the experience, or destroying the very possibility of real experience.

This chattering thinking mind is seldom even noticed, because it is so normal to our usual experience. Most people do not even yet know of any other alternative. Yet we each have a possibility of mind that can be absolutely empty, silent, and receptive. But this takes some inner work; it requires intention and practice. The key to empty mind is conscious surrender of thought, using conscious breath and relaxation to achieve this. Ponder on this and practice.

The essential key to real experience in nature is emptiness, silence, and receptivity. Yet this is one state of mind; it is not three. All three come together in synthesis and at one time. Note that eastern philosophies often emphasize just the emptiness, and they miss on the receptive part. Yet the esoteric teachings see that receptivity is the very purpose of emptiness and silence. In other words, emptiness of mind produces mental silence, and mental silence creates the possibility of receptivity, which then creates the possibility for real experience -- because one is silently receptive for it.

This state of absolute mental silence is, itself, a profoundly spiritual experience, and especially when meditating with open senses in a beautiful or sacred place. We come into this state of Silence. We enter into the Silence. And when in this state, the whole world around us is suddenly immersed in absolute silence. We feel and experience the Silence. We feel mentally empty and silent. Then from this state, as our chalice of mind is empty, it is now possible to receptively experience the real energies and qualities of nature, as well as all of the spiritual planes.

Receptivity practice

Our senses, and also our mind and heart, needs to open up in a receptive way to the natural world, in order to have profound relationship experiences in nature.

If we are not open and not receptive, then our experiences in nature will remain very ordinary, and nothing profound or extraordinary will happen. Rocks will just be rocks, mountains will just be mountains, plants and trees will be nothing more than ordinary things. In fact, in this very ordinary state, all of the natural world will simply seem as an almost unnoticed background for our experience of our own internal dialogue. Our internal dialogue, or our little wishes, or our little “world' will be dominate in experience, while the natural world will remain as just background. It is only when we happen to wake up to the natural world as a profound reality, or intentionally wake up to this, that a possibility opens up for a truly profound experience, rather than the usual ordinary.

So if we do not simply want to remain in our ordinary experience of life, we will need to make some conscious and intentional practice to get out of the ordinary, the automatic, the usual. Look around and wake up. This is good advice for anytime and any place. But especially when we are in extraordinary places, this is a great time to make conscious and intentional efforts to particularly be awake and, perhaps, perceive natural things and places with a new open mind, open heart, and open senses. Awaken to a brand new kind of experience. Be open to a profound experience, rather than simply be content with the usual ordinary experience.

The first important step in this is to conscious become receptive to what is here. Imagine sitting on a rock by a gently flowing river, watching the river flow and listening to the sound. Not having music playing, and not even having any music or thoughts playing in the mind. Just listening to the sound of this place in nature. Not thinking about other stuff or other places, but just being present and perceptive right here. Just being here, with open senses, open mind, and open heart. This is the practice. First just be settled and at peace in oneself. Then just listen and see. Then become receptive and open to what is. Or become open and receptive to whatever happens to catch our attention or interest. Let yourself be caught. Let yourself become enthralled, engrossed, enchanted. Liberate yourself from your own control, and jump into this sense of just being here with what is, and allowing what is to speak to us and to fill our experience.

When we truly receive a part of nature, in this way, we are then entering into a real relationship, because we are now consciously allowing this portion of nature into our experience. We are entering into a real relationship, in this moment and place, because we are not merely trying to control or manipulate the experience. Instead we are allowing the rocks, the river, or whatever, to be in our experience without trying to control or dictate. We are letting the rocks, the river, or the place to speak for itself, and we are willing to truly listen and hear what is being shared. This is all part of a real, honest, and loving relationship.

The final possible apex of this receptive practice is communion with the nature in front of of us, or around us. The experience of communion is the same as the experience of union or unity. This is the apex of possible experience in nature -- union, unity, or being in oneness. This is the very height of profound experience.

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