“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
In winter 2021-2022, Paula van der Werff (PSYCH-K® instructor) and Annemiek Keur (Facilitator) organized inspiration afternoons for Facilitators around the Principles of Nature, an important source of inspiration for many of us. In our mid-December meeting, we talked about the principles Harmony, Cause & Effect, and Resilience. What role do they play in our lives? How can we be inspired by them? How are they interrelated? We shared our thoughts, as well as music and poems for inspiration, and we hope this article also inspires others to give these principles a place in their lives.
We started with the principle Harmony and first listened to the song “Ebony and Ivory” by Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney
The lyrics are short but powerful and tell us that harmony is the only way we can survive as humanity.
Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony,
side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?
We all know that people are the same wherever you go
There is good and bad in everyone
We learn to live,
when we learn to give each other
What we need to survive, together alive
We discussed that sometimes it can be difficult to avoid conflict and maintain or achieve harmony. In case of conflict, we do not want to “keep our mouths shut”, please others, or overstep our own boundaries, but neither do we want to arm ourselves and become harsh. One way to find harmony is to look for what we have in common with the other, where the common ground is, what connects us. We probably want the same thing, to be safe and loved, but may have different ideas about how to achieve that, and if we can recognise that, then a disagreement need not become a conflict. To be able to do this, it is important to be in harmony with ourselves so that we can interact respectfully with others from inner peace. As long as you can stay connected, you can also discuss difficult things.
How do we see harmony in nature? A good example is trees in a forest or by the side of the road. They stand close together but each go their own way and their branches just barely touch. They give each other space, creating harmony.
While talking, we find that harmony is related to respect; taking into account the needs of the other, appreciating the other, valuing the other, leaving the other whole. We can remain respectful if we are in harmony with ourselves, and at the same time, respect for differences and conscious or subconscious attunement with each other can promote harmony. Just as in music to create harmony you need different sounds, and align those sounds with the intention of creating something beautiful together.
But sometimes it really doesn’t work out. If the other person doesn’t want to listen, doesn’t want to tune in, we can choose to distance ourselves. Then we create peace and at least stay in harmony with ourselves.
Cause and effect
The principle of Cause and Effect is easily visible in nature and we find it a tall order because small things can have a big impact. Everything we do or say can have a big impact on another person and on ourselves. This feels like a huge responsibility. It is good to realise this but we should also not be too hard on ourselves and be quick to blame ourselves and think, “Did I say something nasty?” We are responsible for our actions and the consequences but we also have responsibility for our own emotions. In the words of Dr Gabor Maté, “If you are triggered, someone else may have pulled the trigger. But know that you are the one with all the explosives inside you.”
We want to be aware of cause and effect, and also be mild towards ourselves and others. As in Trinus Riemersma’s poem Relativising.
maybe you would make it easier on yourself
if you could think the people
back as children
that for this and that
once a mother lay awake
that a father proud as a peacock
went for a walk with them
that they pinched a finger
between the door
and cried over a bleeding knee
and that they once sat in
holding a far too large pencil
in their little fist
We also want to be aware that what you don’t say or do has consequences. In particular, when wondering whether or not to say something, the following questions can help us:
Is this the right message?
Am I the right person?
Is this the right time?
Am I doing this with the right intention?
Is this the right way?
When we act from inner harmony, choosing more consciously (and therefore better) from love for ourselves and others, the interaction with others changes.
Finally, the principle Resilience, the ability to cope well with adversity, to bounce back, and to see the point in it just as it is sometimes good for a fire to start so that something new can rise again from the ashes. This is beautifully expressed in this excerpt from the poem Plea for a fiery existence (from: The Power of Water, Earth, Air and Fire)
Can you sit in the fire
can you bear the heat
do you have the peace and courage
to wait until the fire is tempered
so that the heat remains and we still together
inhabit the earth with our living fire
learn to guard your fire
know your own fire sanctuary
know how to feed your fire
take it with you across the plains of life
where you wander as a nomad
with glowing coals
to always and everywhere rekindle
fuel your fire
what is no longer needed
to make fertile
and keep the wild animals at bay
to be able to warm each other and
give light where it is dark
If you wait, something more beautiful can come. The coal you always carry with you, your zest for life, your inner fire, you can always rekindle that.
As in nature, we can trust that after winter, spring will come. In nature, everything is a wave motion, in a straight line we lose our interest and the energy/impulse to do things, to take action in the here and now.
Resilience is every new breath, we may rely on that.
Again and again, we may return to our own energy;
inhalation = resilience,
inspiration = higher consciousness, and
expiration = action = putting things into the world
The lemniscate above visualises this movement.