For me, nature has always assisted in bridging the gaps. Mary Oliver is a poet who writes the translucent realm between humans and animals, so her vision of the natural world in relation to our species is rife with animal imagery. In her poem Wild Geese, she wrote:
"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."
How hard it can be for the spiritual seeker to live in the body. What a challenge for the sensationally oriented to embrace spirit. And it is in the integration of these diverse paths that we evolve. Without the ego we would not feed or shelter our body and it would die. If ego grows too large, we lose our sense of connection and become focused on self to the exclusion of others... and we wither. Without our soul self we would not know divine light, beauty, and love. Trying to live solely in either realm is like the turtle refusing to enter the water, the bird unwilling to step upon the earth. Yet we are often caught in feeling bad for getting wet, for not being able to stay always in the air, denying that is our nature to live in both realms.
We can intentionally choose thoughts and actions to encourage the collaboration of ego and soul self. One practice that proves helpful for me is to cultivate awareness of what is holy in the mundane. When I handle beautiful soft wool before spinning I admire the texture, the luster, the absolute beauty of the integration of light, texture and color, and I am grateful both for the gift and for the perception. In the ocean I can see all life and motion, both the shadow of the moon and the reflection of the sun. Looking at a flower or plant, I remember the miraculous array of the Fibonacci sequence inherent in living things even if I cannot see it. My thoughts can reach for the heavens while my hands and my feet touch the earth.
"And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds -
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?"
Mary Oliver, The Swan