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Sunday Nature Service

Finding God in Nature

Chapelito Oak Tree Nature Circle

In the way of mysticism, Questhaven Retreat offers a Sunday Nature Service seasonally on Sunday mornings from 9:00-10:30 a.m. allowing seekers to walk our many nature trails to draw closer to God in a beautiful, peaceful and sacred nature setting. View our calendar for a current schedule.

Questhaven's trails vary widely in difficulty, so seekers of all fitness levels and abilities are welcome to join us. Bring water, journal, sunscreen, hat, layers and hiking shoes. All are invited to join afterwards for our devotional service at 10:45 a.m. followed by fellowship and a potluck luncheon.

We meet under the oak tree by Chapelito promptly at 9:00 a.m. where we are greeted by meditative instrumental music followed by a short lesson presenting a spiritual keynote and exercise to contemplate and practice on the trail.

In the heart of nature's stillness, we receive the full meaning of God without help or interpretation.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

We read the words of the nature mystics for inspiration and instruction.

When we desire to find God and to be awakened, we will at regular times withdraw to those sacred places of nature, and there, lift up our heart and our whole being. There we will purify our consciousness and ask God to teach us and to instruct us. We find that as we do this, we are fed by and helped by every soul whose nature love is greater than our own.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

We walk Questhaven's nature trails in reverent silence.

Now these mountains are our holy land, and we ought to 'saunter' through them reverently, not 'hike' through them.
John Muir

We learn from nature's rocks, wrens, water and woodlands.

There is nothing to me that equals the inspiration of the out of doors. Books are beautiful. We enjoy them. We are inspired by them. But give me the book of nature any day, and its hills and its valleys and its lakes and its shores and its clouds and its sunshine and everything it has. It is a wonderful thing to find God in nature.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

We love beauty with a deep sense of awe, expectancy and joy.

Take in everything before you, and let your eyes be drenched with beauty, and as you love beauty in a reverent way, it becomes a sacrament to you.

We look to nature as teacher, healer and enlightener.

This is what we want to remember during every time we approach instruction from nature or initiation into its great mysteries, that our whole days must be upward, our thoughts must be aspiring, they must be united with in reverence the glories we see.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

We seek to know God and the inner side of nature.

We want to see the beauty that God is painting for us constantly to our visible sight and feel with all our inner beings what is behind that outer beauty.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

Weekly Lessons

Weekly lessons will cover some of the following topics to help us to deepen our attunement and raise our consciousness in Nature.

  • Nature Mysticism—Experiencing God in Nature
  • Communion in Nature—Silence, Prayer and Meditation
  • Nature's Beauty—Beauty as a Sacrament
  • The Inner Side of Nature—The Nature Kingdom
  • Inner Perception—Developing our Sixth Sense
  • Harmonizing with Nature—The Four Elements
  • Nature as Teacher—Signs and Symbols
  • Oneness with Nature—Identifying with All Life
  • Healing in Nature—Nature's Gift of Renewal
  • Nature Mystics—Primers for Illumination

Finding God in Nature

Flower A. Newhouse in Sequoia N.P., by © Jonathan Wiltshire (innerworldart.com)

Scientific research has now proven that exposure to nature heals and restores us by reducing stress, quickening our minds, and making us happier. They've even determined that nature makes us kinder, more generous.

When at last we begin to understand this great world of nature, we will understand that nature is our greatest investment.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

Flower A. Newhouse, Questhaven's co-founder, adds that, "when approached reverently and worshipfully, nature not only heals us, but instructs, transforms and enlightens us... and draws us closer to God."

Questhaven's former director, Dr. Stephen Isaac, reminded us that:

The theme of all worship, and of life itself, is to draw closer to God.

And we can draw closer through communion with God in nature. "In nature, communion is always taking place," Flower told us, and she urged us to journey here for healing and enlightenment.

Every walk in nature is a ritual of Holy Communion, and the receiving of it.
John Burroughs

The first thing that we learn from the great out-of-doors, Flower said, is that it will give us its inner secrets, if we worship using not only our five senses, but our sixth as well. To do this, she instructs us to:

Love what you see. Appreciate it. Remain attuned, receptive to its instruction, desirous for illumination in nature.

As you maintain that type of consciousness, she continues, "you shall not be empty-hearted when you leave the vastness of the wilderness. You will have in your eyes a softening of your features, a mellowing of your character, and giving it depth."

Nature has its own way of teaching us, Flower said, "and it can initiate us as well as any of the other paths that lead to God. In fact, it is a simpler way, it is a more profound way, and it demands of us a greater depth than do the churches, or do the ways of devotion by which we might approach the Eternal."

A walk in nature should teach us just as definitely as a sermon in church or a lecture in the classroom.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

Flower even reminded us that, "the wise Christian enters the open places in order to go into its mystery school, for it is the greatest school that is known... so when we enter the out-of-doors we should do so with a heart that is upturned, and an expectant attitude, for at any moment, if we hold ourselves in the right attentive and receptive mood, we can, and shall, be instructed."

Nature as Enlightener
bioFlower A. Newhouse, Nature As Healer and Enlightener

Flower was asked, "How does one reach higher consciousness in nature?"

She answered, "First, by being empty of oneself as much as possible, and by achieving an extrovert's awareness, outgoingness, and openness to all of life. The introvert would find it very difficult to be instructed while in the forest, because he is too centered in himself. This type of person, as is true for all of us, needs to rejoice."

Love beauty so reverently that self-forgetfulness comes, the depth and the beauty, the frequencies and the glories of what we are reverencing dips into us and purifies, heals and transforms us in its own wondrous way.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

The Inner Side of Nature

Tree Deva, by © Jonathan Wiltshire (innerworldart.com)

When one experiences Nature through the eyes of inner perception, there is nothing commonplace in this kingdom. Such an approach to Nature requires reverence. In contrast to a casual or indifferent attitude, the sensitive individual looks upon Nature as a sacred creation of God that deserves to be valued and revered.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

Flower tells us that, "An individual, who succeeds in keeping his attention spiritually focused, attracts the warmest approval from Devic and Angelic Watchers. They will aid, enliven, instruct, and direct one whose aura reveals the sincerity, purity, and eagerness of his quest.

In her book, Angels of Nature, Flower is more specific about the qualities we need to cultivate in order to attract the attention and approval of these watchers from each of the four kingdoms of nature.

In order to harmonize with Earth we must cultivate unselfishness, generosity... being open-hearted and good.

Air intelligences demand constancy, fidelity, humility and appreciation... and the purity of our thoughts and feelings which constitute our air realm—consciousness.

Water reminds us to seek for self-command and control of our emotions. The easy flow of water symbolizes the outflowing of spiritualized love, which water expects from us.

The element of Fire is closely linked to the advent of spiritual enlightenment. As such, it requires of us integrity, earnestness, enthusiasm, and holy desire.

When we love Nature reverently and appreciatively then its inner side opens.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

To help us to keep our attention spiritually focused and increase our sensitivity and inner perception in Nature, we practice these seven keynotes:

  • Purification (preparation)
  • Awareness (beholding)
  • Appreciation (gratitude)
  • Love (compassion)
  • Unification (oneness)
  • Adoration (reverence)
  • Wonder (awe, expectancy, joy)

You keep on sensing, analyzing, exploring, appreciating, loving, adoring—all at the same time—and you are so busy, there couldn't be any thought that would be lowered, because there is so much to see.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

In addition to this inner preparation, Flower gives us some practical advice to help us receive the most from all that flows to us from these nature cathedrals, once we arrive. Flower encourages us to:

  • Walk alone (devas or angels attend to us individually),
  • Walk slowly, eyes up, use all your senses,
  • Choose a trail which climbs up (walk into the currents),
  • Try to pick a new trail not taken before (newness),
  • Learn to identify the birds, animals, flowers, trees and minerals that you'll likely encounter (an inner spark of recognition goes out from us to the ones we identify).

To Thee, O God, we render praise, thanksgiving, rejoicing and all the reverence of which we are possessed this day. We ask to touch, not only the fringes, but the inner kingdom of these truths that are a reality of life, and ask to be reached by glorious new insights, purposeful resolve, purification, sweet drafts of spirit, wondrous loving upliftment and enable us to see with the eyes of love Thy Spirit invested in all things. So shall it be, so is it now through Thee, Lord Christ, Amen.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

Inspired by Nature

Flower A. Newhouse at Questhaven, by © Jonathan Wiltshire (innerworldart.com)

Flower told us that she receives as much from nature as she does from meditation or reading.

There is nothing to me that equals the inspiration of the out of doors. Books are beautiful. We enjoy them. We are inspired by them. But give me the book of nature any day, and its hills and its valleys and its lakes and its shores and its clouds and its sunshine and everything it has. It is a wonderful thing to find God in nature.
bioFlower A. Newhouse

The nearer one is to enlightenment, she says, "the more drawn to nature we are to study and love her ways. The more you can love as well as appreciate and seek to protect beauty in every form, the higher and nobler becomes your character. For nature teaches your character to expand, and it reaches out to your very soul to make it as pure as it is."

Cause all of nature to more strongly and more gloriously ensoul us.
Let drafts of power come to us from the great Sky Kingdom!
Let solar energies touch our innermost bodies and send their currents through our physical vehicles.
Let the trees and the forests sing their praises to Thee.
Let the Planetary Spirit, Whose earth body we stand upon, grant us power, inner sight, and strength to do our work on earth while deeply in love with Thee in nature.
Let the bird notes sing their symphonies before our attuned ears!
Let the wind currents make their melodies known to our inner ears.
Let all the wonderful Hosts of Silent Witnesses before Thy Throne in nature forms in the Angelic Kingdoms that serve us spiritually become a part of our known experience.

bioFlower A. Newhouse

Reading Suggestions

Songs of Deliverance
Flower A. Newhouse encourages her readers to journey to the mountains in the chapter At-one-ment With Nature.

The Journey Upward
Flower urges us to translate Nature's beauty to our spirits and our senses in the chapter Finding Enlightenment Through Nature.

Angels of Nature
Flower views Nature as a sacred creation to be valued and revered in the chapter Finding Enlightenment Through Nature.

Rediscovering the Angels
Flower says to go into Nature to find intelligent healers and teachers in the chapter The Open Door of Nature.