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Fort Collins, United States | shamom100@gmail.com

Nature Mind/Animal Mind


Thanks to Jade K. for this beautiful mask.

ShaMom says: Taking things at face value in the Forest is the first step to tuning into Nature’s reality. The first step is to revitalize your Nature Mind. Embark on an experience without a goal in mind and see what happens:

The eyes transmit electric impulses from reflected light to the brain.

The brain acts like processing software that finds patterns in the impulses and matches them up with symbols. The symbols run through memory to connect with something familiar.


Your experiential nature mind won’t find a familiar thought to catch onto. It allows you to engage with surroundings interactively rather than reflectively. Our ancestors were hunter gatherers. They lived in balance with the cyclical way of things. There is a big difference when you don’t hold onto any outcome. Be spontaneous and take things at face value with no judgement. Be “in the now”. Nature is constantly giving us survival clues in symbol and metaphor. Learn their language.


Zen Master Huang-po, ninth century states: “Many people are afraid to empty their own minds lest they plunge into the Void. What they don’t realize is that their own mind is the Void.”


The mind is capable of only so much. To rely on it for connection to Nature limits us to the minds’ world. Why just depend on your mind when you can have access to the knowledge of the trees, animals, the wind…Add to this the untapped wisdom of your ancestors and how they interacted with Nature. Why would you want to limit yourself to just your mind?


Thought interferes with thinking. A word cluttered mind smothers the intuitive voice. It is restricted to the knowledge the mind already possesses. Knowledge is history. Our pure functioning state is to think without thought. The Chinese Zen term for this practice is “ta yung” – pure functioning, animal mind-based awareness. Always alert, but also neutral toward action. The rational mind evolved to serve the animal mind. Animal-mind consciousness involves continual engagement and constant non rational thinking. Relationship is a process not a product. This state creates the unbound sense of presence that invites the intuitive voice. How is your relationship with your spirit animal these days? Taking things at face value in the Forest is the first step to tuning into Nature’s reality.


Forest fun: Here is a short video in which you actively observe. What message did you get?