Nature Play Assignments

SERIES 1: Thinking Like a Plant

Session 1: What's Wrong with We?

1) Contemplate everyday, even several times a day something in nature that is living, growing, flourishing. Then contemplate its opposite, something with a sense of death, withering, decaying. You can go back and forth between the two slowly or quickly. Let these opposite poles work upon you to reset your inner life.

2) Draw on paper your impressions of these two different states of being.

3) Ruckshau: Take a few minutes each day to review the events of the day in reverse order. See yourself from an objective perspective. This is a way to strengthen many things in yourself including mental picturing, memory and empathy.

Session 2: A Transformational Being

1) Contemplate, everyday, a seed. Sense into its invisible qualities, it's potential to become a full plant. Compare it to something else that is not a living seed.

Guide for Seed Contemplation

Look at the seed in as much precise detail as possible, using your senses, describing it to yourself. Then think a thought as suggested by Steiner, The seed, if planted in the ground, will grow into a complex plant. We visualize the plant, we make the plant present to us. We build it up in imagination. Then we think: What I now visualize in my imagination, forces of earth and light will later in reality draw forth from this small seed. But if this were an artificial seed, an artificial copy so perfect that my eyes could not distinguish it from the real seed, then no forces of earth and light would ever be able to draw forth such a plant from it. Within the seed already lies concealed what - as the force of the whole plant - later grows out of it. The artificial copy of the seed has no such force. Yet, to my eyes, both seeds look the same. Therefore the real seed contains something invisible that is absent to the copy. Thoughts and feelings should now focus on this invisible reality. We must imagine that this invisible force or reality will in the course of time change into the visible plant, whose color and form we will be able to see before us. The invisible will become visible.

When doing this exercise, it needs to be done with intensity, to the exclusion of everything else. He also emphasizes that the thought and feeling need to be united in doing these exercises. When done successfully we will become conscious of a new force within us, a new inner organ. This new sense, beyond our physical senses, may give us an impression that the seed is enclosed in a small cloud of light - or aura. Or that we may even sense a kind of flame at the centre of the seed, and impressions of colours at the centre and at the edges, such as purple and blue. What we could not see before now becomes apparent to us, created by the force of the thoughts and feelings we have awakened within us. The plant which is still physically invisible and will not become visible until later - is revealed to us in a spiritually visible manner.

2) Draw on paper your impressions of the seed. Optionally, you can also draw your impression of the non seed.

3) Continue with practices from previous sessions.

4) Ruckshau: Take a few minutes each day to review the events of the day in reverse order. See yourself from an objective perspective. This is a way to strengthen many things in yourself including mental picturing, memory and empathy.


Session 3: Imagination at Work

1) Contemplate, everyday, a plant, as per the example given in this session. a) Observe it with exact sensorial observation. b) Then build up the thought about how the plant will one day decay and perish. Buy using the imagination, see there is an invisible part, a beingness that will carry on and rise again in a new plant. c) Use this thought and image as the interface to connect with the true beingness of the plant, allowing it to conjure itself before you and within you to behold.

Guide for Seed Contemplation

Observe the plant with senses. Note all the details with exact sensorial observation. This is the objective method. Then begin to think about the plant, building up thought substance, using the Imagination. An example thought is, "A time will come when this plant will wither and decay. Everything I see now will then no longer exist. But the plant will have produced seeds, and these will become new plants. Thus once again I become aware that something I cannot see lies hidden in what I see. The plant form with all its colours will soon no longer be there. But the knowledge that the plant produces seeds teaches me that it will not disappear into nothingness. I cannot see what preserves the plant from disappearance anymore than I could see the future plant in the seed. Therefore it follows that there is something in the plant, too, that I cannot see with my eyes. If I let this thought live within me, and the appropriate feeling unites with it, then after a time a new force will grow in me and become a new perception."

2) Try to capture the experience on paper, drawing some of your impressions or writing them down. This further exercises the powers of the imagination.

3) Continue with practices from previous sessions.

4) Ruckshau: Take a few minutes each day to review the events of the day in reverse order. View yourself from an objective, higher perspective, going through your day. what do you learn about yourself? This is a way to strengthen many things in yourself including mental picturing, memory and empathy.

Session 4: The Archetypal Plant

1) Contemplate, everyday, leaves using exact sensorial observation. Pay attention to the variety. Close your eyes and then with "exact sensorial imagination" re-picture each leaf with as much vividness, detail and feeling as possible. Draw the leaves you are observing. Meditate on the drawings of the leaves you have observed and feel into the different qualities. With imagination, connect yourself to the beingness behind leafness.

2) Start inventing your own leaves. Visualize and draw a variety of leaf possibilities in the realm of infinite possibility. Meditate on the drawings of the leaves you have created and feel into the different qualities. With imagination, connect yourself to the beingness behind leafness.

3) Continue with practices from previous sessions.

4) Ruckshau: Take a few minutes each day to review the events of the day in reverse order. View yourself from an objective, higher perspective, going through your day. What do you learn about yourself? This is a way to strengthen many things in yourself including mental picturing, memory and empathy.

Session 5: The Threefold Inverted Plant

1) Contemplate a variety of plants using fully your thinking, feeling and will capacities to activate participation consciousness and connect to the threefold thinking, feeling, and willing parts of a plant. Meet parts of yourself in an inverted way. Use exact sensorial observation, then exact sensorial imagination, to picture the plant inwardly, especially the root system if not visible. Draw what you saw. Add notes if necessary.

2) Continue with practices from previous sessions.

3) Ruckshau: Take a few minutes each day to review the events of the day in reverse order. View yourself from an objective, higher perspective, going through your day. What do you learn about yourself? This is a way to strengthen many things in yourself including mental picturing, memory and empathy.

Session 6: Phenomenal Colour

1) Contemplate colour in the environment. Let it work on you. Close your eyes and visualize the colour. Again, let it work on you. How does this make you feel? How does it affect your consciousness?

2) Work with the relationship between form, colour, and a felt sense of sound as you contemplate plant life.

"Every color, every sensation of light, corresponds to a spiritual tone; every interaction among colors corresponds to a harmony or melody, and so on. We must keep in mind that spiritual seeing does not cease where spiritual sound prevails; the sounding simply augments the radiance." Rudolf Steiner (Theosophy)

3) Continue with practices from previous sessions.

4) Ruckshau: Take a few minutes each day to review the events of the day in reverse order. View yourself from an objective, higher perspective, going through your day. What do you learn about yourself? This is a way to strengthen many things in yourself including mental picturing, memory and empathy.

Session 7: Empathy in Action

1) Contemplate a plant or tree, see and feel into the vertical tendency. See and feel into the counter-pose that creates moments of expansion and contraction within the vertical tendency. Sense how this archetypal breathing between expansion and contraction brings the archetypal plant into its unique form.

ART: Draw a straight vertical line. Create a breathing of expansion and contraction around it and see what emerges. Colour in the parts that speak of plantness to create your own new plant.

2) Write poetry about and to Nature. Blend both the quantitative and qualitative observations, the Newtonian and Goethean, and feel the difference in the way the words express. Which has an easier sense of empathy?

3) Continue with practices from previous sessions.

4) Ruckshau: Take a few minutes each day to review the events of the day in reverse order. View yourself from an objective, higher perspective, going through your day. What do you learn about yourself? This is a way to strengthen many things in yourself including mental picturing, memory and empathy.