I woke up this morning thinking of how religious education, a degree in theology, and a master’s degree in Spirituality did not bring me any closer to God. Yes, they spoke about and of God, they spoke about “religions’, but they did not bring me into contact with the divine par say. Yes, they did certainly create a greater awareness of God for me, but, many times it was not the God or Creator I now know that I encountered in books. You certainly do not need a degree in Theology to know God, but, back then I was searching and I suppose I had to start somewhere, and my education did put me on the right path, but, saying that it could of very easily kept on ONLY on that path; and that’s where the danger lies. Relying solely on books, and religious practice will not really help you to spiritually grow; this can only come from within you. Spiritual growth is a personal journey and requires a gradual spiritual transformation of your inner being. It involves shedding the old and embracing the new. It is non-denominational and is not set in any particular ‘religious’ context as such. Basically, it is open to one and all on an equal footing and can occur anywhere. My Cathedrals can be actual buildings or the great outdoors set within Mother Nature; both are equally spiritually uplifting for me. The advantage of the great outdoors is that it changes from one day to the next; no two days are ever the same. Mother nature surprises me every day and very often throws in great gifts that cross my path and brighten my day. These gifts can take many forms, sometimes they are rabbits or hares, sometimes mushrooms, other times stunning sun scenes, or cool cloud formations. It does not matter what form these gifts take, the point is they are always there, and always beautiful. The purity, innocence, and elegance of nature never fail, and I feel and an immense sense of gratitude, connectedness, oneness and love for all of creation. Sometimes it overwhelms me it is so breathtaking. We find a great spiritual connection within Mother Nature, its pure raw energy is much cleaner than ours, its consciousness unlike that of ours is untainted and therefore it is closer in a sense to the divine. But, do not get me wrong for we too are divine, it is just that we are that bit tainted by our egos, and therefore less pure. And these are the reasons we are drawn to nature, because, it retains part of what we have lost; purity. But, by just spending time in nature we feel calm and at ease, the color green in and of itself has a calming effect. In fact, the more time we spend in nature the better it is for us, and we grow by just tapping into that clean and pure consciousness that is found in nature. Mother Nature holds cleansing and healing properties beyond our present comprehension. Even as the days get shorter, and the nights get longer try to spend as much time in nature as possible; wrap up and see what gifts Mother Nature will surprise you with. For it is worth embracing the chill, and plus spending time in the natural light is a must for us during these the darkest months. We need natural light to up lift and sustain us. We will feel the better of spending time outdoors, of spending spiritual time in the great cathedral of the womb of Mother Nature.