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The Influence of Nature

Amidst the myriads of forces which act upon us to evolve and develop our psychic powers, the chief is that of Nature. To her we owe our being; the more intimately we come in contact with her, the higher and more spiritualized we become, for—

Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her.
—William Wordsworth

Even the word has a ring of repose and trust which lingers on the lips, dissolving the flimsy curtains of levity, ignorance, and hypocrisy which too often obscure spiritual vision.

To every soul who desires, the natural world pours out her music in all its strength and majesty. Here, to seek is to find. If we love Nature she will love us; but from those who cannot value she withholds her priceless gifts, and such go through life unmoved to her beauty and deaf to her voice. They, having eyes, see not; and ears, but hear not. Yet the tonic we can receive, if we will, by placing ourselves under the right conditions for the inflow and the outflow of those vital forces, the mingling of which will restore virility to the mind, vigour to the limbs, and spirituality to the soul. We must be quite alone and give ourselves with entire simplicity and perfect trust to the divine healing touch.

Then the chords within are touched by the influences without, and the mind and heart begin to sing in chorus to the great Divine.

Those who lead the true life, who baffle failure, conquer fear, eradicate self, stepping upwards from conquest to conquest, need have no fear that the Comforter will quit them in their hour of need. The peace of the soul is the "perfect peace which passeth all understanding." "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you."

Every blade of grass, every flower of the field, and cloud in the sky, will be an inspiration and will absorb all taint and poison from our natures, giving in return this peace which "the world cannot give." In the presence of Nature we are true to ourselves and are witnesses of the divine harmony which interpenetrates all things. The outpouring of the inner spirit connects the inner with the outer, blending all in one perfect harmony.

At last the world loses its hold. We are in the spirit, in Nature.

See! A blue wagon with wheels, red painted, and wisps of yellow straw hanging over its sides and waving to and fro across the blueness. Down through a break in the land I see the waters spread out like the silver lining of a pure fairy garment. There, a little house nestling in the hollow and surrounded by protecting trees, which, too, makes a part in the landscape. Here we are at one with the grasses and the brooks and the sweet bolled birches which we touch with loitering, loving fingers. These are the times when one's soul is lifted up to God and one longs for the permanency of such moments. But the sweetest things in life are the most transient. The beautiful souls with which we come in contact in passing through life come and go like a silver flash upon the water, forever beyond the reach of our touch. Yet the memory, the influence, remains with us forever: we can never be so little again!

How closely is Nature allied with Music— the most powerful of all the arts! The motion of the leaves, the swaying of the golden, tender corn-stems in the breeze, is music to the eye as to the ear, for there is an eye-music and an ear-music. The rhythm, the cadences, the singing of the birds, the music sweet and shrill, or the low warbling of the rushing waters, the bleating of the young lambs, the sound of a stone falling from a height—all this can touch every libre of the soul as almost nothing else can.

And the sea?
Nothing could be purer than the waves which leap so gaily,
Nothing could be brighter than the songs the waves are singing;
So the sun he pours his light down
On the great, wide, seething ocean,
Glimmering white and shimmering light
O'er the curling foam.
Far away the dim horizon
Brings to view a white ship sailing—
Sailing, as it seems, from sea-home
Into cloud-home blue above;
There to sleep until the dawning
Of a fairer, sweeter soul-time,
When all evil low is shattered,
And the good is over all.

To truly live is to be with Nature. In her presence no thought which is unbeautiful or unholy can enter: we are possessed by divinity.

I am larger, better than I knew; I did not know I held so much goodness.
—Walt Whitman

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J. S. F. Miller

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