Contemporary knowledge about God, Evolution, and the meaning of human life.
Methodology of spiritual development.
How God Can Be Cognized/Love for Nature
Love for Nature
The beauty of the Earth... It would be wrong to say that I had not noticed it before. I noticed it and admired it! I admired a reflection of the sun in spring puddles. I delighted in the transparent blue of the sky and in a golden carpet of leaves rustling under my feet during the autumn. My eyes always noted something amazing and beautiful and tried to imprint it.
However, I was not able to dissolve in this beauty when I was attuning to it. I observed it from aside, from my ajna chakra only, from my head. When we look from the head, we can see beauty and we can even enjoy it by sight, but we still remain separated from it, while mergence with it is what constitutes spiritual value.
Before I started my discipleship, I thought that a good artistic taste was proper to me. I appreciated esthetics and, seemingly, knew a lot about it.
Nevertheless, I had to think more seriously on this topic after one of our trips.
... We stayed on the bank of a forest river. It was the beginning of spring, and everything was bathed in sunlight.
Suddenly I saw a beautiful red tulip floating in the river and slightly rocking in its current. Immediately my past estheticism rose in me, and I started involuntarily admiring this picture: a red flower is floating in a transparent river between two banks covered with dazzling snow. However, a comment of Vladimir took me out of the contemplation of this “beautiful” picture:
“Look, a beautiful corpse is floating”…
... Afterwards, I had another more serious lesson.
Whenever we were in the forest, Vladimir acquainted us with birds, specifically, the names of each different kind of bird and how each of them sings in spring. At that time, it seemed to me that this aspect of our work was undoubtedly interesting but not very important. I also was sure that I would never be able to distinguish a finch from a robin or a thrush anyway.
So, when the chatter of birds was all around us in spring, Vladimir could suddenly ask:
“Well, what bird is singing now?”
Of course, no one remembered. We just shrugged our shoulders and tried to guess.
That is why I was waiting for the next spring with a certain shudder, thinking: “Oh no, soon birds will come again and start singing all together!...”
Indeed, they came soon and started singing.
At the beginning, Vladimir laughed at our ignorance, put “bad grades in our karmas”, and exclaimed:
“What kind of God will you be if you cannot even memorize birds? God, contrary to you, knows each one of His creatures!”
However, I still could not understand why it was so important.
So, one day, when I again called a redwing a robin, Vladimir told me:
“I do not know whether or not I will be able to communicate with you any further... All these birds are my friends! All those years that I have walked along these forest trails, they were with me! I indeed do not know how to communicate with you if you do not love and accept my friends!...”
It was a new “squall” that fell on me! I cried and still could not understand what my fault was. I love all birds! What can I do if I cannot learn their voices?!
I was really worried then and promised myself that I would start having a more serious attitude towards this issue. So I began to “prick up my ears” with all my strength in the forest and listen to the tape recordings of bird songs at home...
I do not remember how much time had passed since then, but one day, while walking along a forest trail, I heard a blackbird quietly sing somewhere in the distance. Words cannot describe what joy filled me from that song! For the first time in my life, I myself had heard and recognized its voice, and it did not belong to some abstract bird but to a blackbird indeed! Then I heard and recognized a finch song without hesitation. And somewhere nearby a titmouse started “titmousing” happily. The spring was blossoming, and more and more birds were all around. I then finally realized how important it is to love all my friends and to know them by their names! The bird’s twitter stopped being a mere pleasant background for our work. Birds really “revived” and became dear and kind friends when I had learned to recognize them.
In this way, step by step, I understood what real love for nature is. It can originate only from the heart. When we transform ourselves into spiritual hearts, our arms of the souls seek to embrace and caress everything living! We, in this case, turn into love pouring out on everything, seeking to wrap everything with it and to merge with the purity and subtlety of surrounding harmony! Only then you do understand that everything around is living! Each bird, each blade of grass, each flower, and a little tree are all living souls that respond to your love!
It is only by knowing and loving in this way and in no other way, we can move further.
It is impossible to flow into God, to unite our hearts with Him if we have not learned to love all His children and all His Creation!
“Only having learned to love the Creation, we can learn to love the Creator” is what Vladimir taught to us.
* * *
I would also like to say few words about the nature of love.
What is love? In my childhood and youth, I was surrounded by many people who said that they loved me.
I noticed that the love of some of them gave joy: for example, one of my grandmothers was nothing but love and tender care for all of us.
The “love” of others, on the other hand, was oppressing, suffocating, and put forth constant demands...
I had, of course, my own opinion on this subject, but Vladimir was the one who amazed me once by how succinct and accurate his wording was about this:
“A vast majority of people understand love as their own wanting. To love — for them — means to want something or someone. This has even become a part of what is called “classical literature” and, consequently, it was this form of ‘love’ that has been taught to children in schools!
“But this is absurd! Love for oneself is anti-love!
“The vector of true love can be directed only from oneself out, never towards oneself!
“Love is self-giving, self-sacrificing, and not demanding something from others for yourself!
“... Nevertheless, it is with such consumeristic anti-love that many people try to ‘love’ not only each other but also living nature and its specific representatives...”