I have thought of Baudelaire's famous poem "Correspondances" while travelling in Thailand and Cambodia. I'm fascinated with mirroring and the poem evokes, in my opinion, the multitude of unconscious and conscious connections we make with nature by reflecting and constantly exchanging at various levels with what surrounds us.
We internalise through our senses and our brain interprets and analyses it as information but it also triggers reactions (hormonal and others...) via our feeling body and our organs; the heart, gut and many others are affected by this constant sensory interplay.
This is how artists create, how musicians, chefs, parfumeurs, designers are inspired and in turn manifest sculptures, books, paintings, melodies, perfumes, songs, masterpieces...which will also excite the senses. The stimulus is transmuted into many stimuli in this beautiful, endless, divine dance: life and nature move and create us, and we can celebrate and fuel it through our creative living.
It seems to me that when we manifest with love, in harmony with our surroundings and the living, while also respecting what moves us, listening deeply to Spirit and to the breath of life then we can, through the simple act of surrender, channel the sublime.
I have witnessed this in different ways since I have been travelling in Thailand and Cambodia. There is a constant interplay with nature and the divine, with creation and the living in all its forms in these Buddhist and Hindu lands.
There are shrines everywhere in nature, temples, restaurants... There are multicoloured ribbons tied around mighty ancient trees, the likes of which I have never seen before. There are monkeys running amok around temples, cows, pigs and buffalos on the roads and in the middle of villages, gorgeous giant butterflies, birds, geckos and lizards singing...
I can sense this awe and devotion for nature and the divine spanning over the ages when I visit ancient temples and sanctuaries built in the middle of forests, surrounded by water, with tree roots embracing their walls, with the most exquisite flower scents (frangipanis I love you), and with frogs, birds and insects all playing their part in this symphony of the living.
This is this complex chaos, this profusion of the living and yet this simple spiritual cohesion which weaves all together that this poem celebrates so well.
Here it is in its original and translated form:
La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles ; L'homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers. Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité, Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté, Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent. II est des parfums frais comme des chairs d'enfants, Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les prairies, - Et d'autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants, Ayant l'expansion des choses infinies, Comme l'ambre, le musc, le benjoin et l'encens, Qui chantent les transports de l'esprit et des sens. Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du mal
Nature is a temple whose columns are alive
and sometimes issue disjointed messages.
We thread our way through a forest of symbols
that peer out, as if recognizing us.
Like long echoes from far away,
Merging into a deep dark unity,
Vast as night, vast as the light,
Smells and colors and sounds concur.
There are perfumes cool as children’s flesh,
Sweet as oboes, green like the prairie,
-And others corrupt, rich and overbearing,
With the expansiveness of infinite things
Like amber, musk, spikenard, frankincense,
Singing ecstasy to the mind and the senses
Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du mal