The Humble Effect: Looking Beyond the Microchasm of the Mind

The Humble Effect: The upwelling of energy from within us, often referred to as emotion. It is brought about through feeling connected to our natural world and instinctively ‘knowing’ our inter connectivity to the cosmos. It may be expressed as joy, inspiration, awe, and gratitude. It is a knowing beyond the ‘rational’ mind, a mind that seeks to create artificial order of a universe beyond our comprehension.

The Humble Effect
Being in nature reminds us that we are not so different from a fungus, a flower, or an insect. We are all connected and time in nature helps us to re-establish our deep connection. Fungus on a log, Tallebudgera Valley.

Instead it is a heart felt-knowing, and an energy that feeds us. Experiencing the glow of a sunrise over mountains, looking up at giant rainforest trees who’s lofty canopy seem to hold up the sky, discovering beautiful fungus on a rotten log like fine coral, listening to a lyre bird in the forest, appreciating flowers in a vase, gardening – emotions beyond expression. The Humble Effect is the inspiration we feel being touched by the beauty of nature. It humbles us and ‘puts us in place’. It removes our ego, and our misplaced entitlement that humans are the masters of the Earth. It dispels our misguided thoughts that we are above nature. It reminds us that beyond our narrow scientific or religious view of the world that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.

The Humble Effect
Surrounding oneself in the awe and beauty of nature can be a humbling experience. Canyon Lookout, Springbrook National Park.

When the Humble Effect takes hold it opens our heart and fills us with deep reverence and intuitively we realise the sacredness of every square inch of this planet and all its life forms – the birds, animals, plants, mountains, rivers, oceans, sky, even microbes we cannot see with our naked eye.

The Humble Effect
As humans we look for patterns to create order in the chaos and call it the cosmos. Fern fronds, Binna Burra.

Making and Breaking Connections

Humans have an innate need to create order out of chaos, and yet this instinct, ironically, can have a destructive effect on our relationship with our planet.

The way Western civilisation has gone about creating this order is to try understand the fundamental ways in which the universe works. It looks for connections, patterns, tests hypothesis.

Science is about finding immutable ‘facts’. It’s goal is to reduce everything to ‘black and white’. Yet life is filled with shades of grey. It is these grey areas that science deletes, destroys, conceals. Science is a cerebral objective exercise to find the ‘truth’. In this search it destroys connections that don’t fit in.

The Humble Effect
When I look at a tiny caterpillar crawling on my thumb I am looking at the universe and the universe looks back at me. Within a caterpillar there is an intelligence that is inherent in all things, so called ‘living’ and ‘non-living’. For the Balinese even the non-living like rocks, and the human-made like cars, have spirits, intelligence. This caterpillar must have been in some eucalypt fodder Heidi had collected to feed her foster animals.

Small Mindedness

The universe and all life is so infinite and beyond total human comprehension. For all our human understanding of the workings of the universe it still only operates in a narrow myopic channel, and no matter how much we may evolve we will only ever see, perceive, understand a tiny crumb of the big picture.

The cerebral field of science will always see humans experiencing the world in a microchasm. A microchasm is a tiny narrow chasm or canyon of perception and understanding.

It is likened to an explorer traversing through a narrow canyon. It is dark and the explorer receives a blinkered view of reality surrounded by towering canyon walls that reveal a blinding light. The explorer looks up but has little perception or understanding what is beyond the canyon walls or even around the next bend.

The Humble Effect
A creative rendition of the Last Supper – Nimbin style. Maybe it should be called the Last Joint. Region (and drugs) are just two ways to gain a narrow glimpse of the infinite.

Religious Truths

Some turn to religion to make sense of their world. They turn to their God or Gods for answers. They turn to religious traditions and doctrine which had been developed, evolved, altered, often adulterated, corrupted over often long periods of time.

Yet again, religion can provide a microchasmic experience of truth, a narrow band in which to see and experience life and to try to understand it.

The Humble Effect
The infinite can be experienced through the infinitesimal. Butterfly graphic from the Treasures of the Natural World exhibition at the ArtScience Museum, Singapore.

The Power of the Small

Yet the power to experience and come closer to the ‘truth’ can be reached through the small.

The small is not just about studying what we can’t see with our naked eye, the micro and nano worlds, but also worlds beyond our physical faculties of sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound.

A portal to understanding is opened when we realise just how small we are, that we are not the centre of the universe, instead we are just one small piece of a much bigger immense multidimensional picture. Connecting to our smallness has a humbling effect upon us.

Our ancient ancestors and indigenous tribal cultures often accessed this knowledge through connecting with nature. It was more about experiencial than experimental, intuitive rather than institutionalised learning. It was heart not head.

The Humble Effect
Humans have a need to create order out of chaos, to analyse, dissect, destroy. Plant study from the Treasures of the Natural World exhibition at the ArtsScience Museum, Singapore.

The Cosmos

Alexander von Humboldt was a geographer, explorer, naturalist and influential proponent of Romantic science and philosophy. He is famous for his multi-volume treatise entitled Cosmos. In this work Humboldt aimed to unify diverse branches of science and culture to create a holistic perception of the universe as one complex, interacting and orderly system.

The Greek word cosmos is used to describe the universe as this complex orderly system or entity. The opposite to this harmonious or orderly system is chaos.

Cosmology is the study of the cosmos from scientific, religious or philosophical perspectives.

The Humble Effect
‘Ologising’ the infinite. Butterfly collection at the Treasures of the Natural World exhibition at the ArtsScience Museum, Singapore.

Ologising Truth

Cosmology, is an ‘ology’, like biology, zoology, ecology. It seeks to understand through destruction, the breaking down of the infinite to bite sized ‘facts’. By creating ‘facts’ cosmologists then use logic to speak their story, or version of the truth. Logic comes from the Greek logos – word, speech, discourse. Using logic one is able to speak one’s truth. Ologies in their very existence destroy the ‘evidence’ they seek to discover, providing a narrow channel, a grave, to bury the truth.

Ologies are about eulogising the death of the truth.

The Humble Effect
In Cosmos, Humboldt not only tried to make sense of the universe through studying it through the traditional sciences, but encouraged us to contemplate the beauty of nature, a more subjective and heart-felt way to discovering the infinite. Natural Bridge, Numimbah Valley.

Romancing The Stone

As a Romanticist, Humboldt was in his treatise able to combine the scientific with the philosophical, the cerebral with spiritual, the objective with the subjective to make some kind of sense or order out of the infinite.

He continues to suggest that as one contemplates the beauty of the cosmos, one can obtain personal inspiration and a beneficial, if subjective, awareness about life. [1]

Humboldt was able to bring together in Cosmos an understanding of the universe from many different perspectives both cerebral and spiritual. His treatise was a reminder that to understand the reality we live in one need not look just at the objective, analytical destructive approach but to also take a subjective, connective, heart opening experiencial intuitive approach.

A humble rock in a mountain stream when we look beyond our michrochasmic thinking, when we slow down our thoughts and become still can open our hearts up to an expanded subjective experience of what a rock is. A simple rock can lead us to the transcendental. Binna Burra, Lamington National Park.

Thus, when one holds a seemingly lifeless stone in their hand, through different perspectives it can miraculously ‘come to life’. All of a sudden, from a physics point of view, a stone isn’t stationary. The atoms that make it up are in constant motion – this brings new meaning to a rolling stone gathers no moss. From a religious point of view a stone is part of creation. From a geological point of view it may have been formed through volcanic activity or maybe from the compressed bodies of dead animals, and so on and so on…

The Humble Effect
Knowledge can be revealed through stillness and silence. The ancient sages whom the Vedas was revealed to lived and meditated in forests. Fern leaf with rain drops after light rain. Tallebudgera Valley.


The Vedas are the most ancient Hindu and yogic texts. Veda is a Sanskrit word coming from the root, vid, ‘to know’, and so Veda means “knowledge” or “wisdom”.

The ancient Vedic texts are said to have been revealed to ancient sages who were passed down orally until they were written down over 2000 years ago. They provide a perspective on how the universe works.

The Vedas connect us to the ‘knowing’, one not revealed through logic and activity but through stillness and silence. Through stillness, through subtleties, through smallness immensity was revealed. Stillness and meditation can provide access to knowledge beyond physical perception. It is an inner knowing.

The Humble Effect
The skeleton of a leaf with its intricate veins can be a portal to the divine. When we look closely at the beauty of nature’s creation, observation gives way to appreciation, wonder and awe. Binna Burra, Lamington National Park.

Sublime Through The Subtle

Nature can provide a portal to this knowledge. It can be accessed through stillness and communion with nature. It can be revealed through holding a flower in your hand, looking intently at a patch of lichen on a weathered rock, standing on the precipice overlooking a forested valley, marvelling at the tiny hands of a newborn child. Access to the infinite is through the minute moments. Accessing the big comes from the small.

The Humble Effect
Another world is accessed through opening the door to the small. The thumb sized world is a world where magic and fairies exist, where the super meets the natural. White fungi like miniature umbrellas in rainforest, Mt Tamborine.


As a child I remember listening to the song from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, Thumblelina. Here are some of the the words:

Thumbelina, Thumbelina tiny little thing
Thumbelina dance, Thumbelina sing
Thumbelina what’s the difference if you’re very small?
When your heart is full of love you’re nine feet tall

In these words I see the secrets to accessing the infinite that the sages who revealed the Vedas knew.

That the infinite is accessed through the infinitesimal. Through turning the tiny keyhole can we open the big heavy door to the universe. Through subtlety, stillness, humility can we know.

Nature can provide the key to open this door. Being in nature, experiencing a sense of awe surrounded by the roar of a powerful waterfall after heavy rains, or the thrill of a raging storm, the wind on your face, the crashing of lightning and boom of thunder – can humble us and ‘put as back into our place’.

The Humble Effect
Breathing in the cool mountain air, feeling the spray from a waterfall, the sound and sight of falling water can fill us with awe and realise for all our self-importance we are part of nature not above it. Twin Falls circuit, Springbrook National Park.

For me, standing still and contemplating the incredible beauty of nature is when my “heart is full of love” and I’m “nine feet tall”. This sense of wonder mixed with appreciation inspires me and fills me with an energy, a life force, the humble effect.

The song continues:

Though you’re no bigger than my toe
Than my toe, than my toe
Sweet Thumbelina keep that glow
And you’ll grow and you’ll grow and you’ll grow

That glow, which is an inner glow, an energy, is the humble effect. To keep that glow is not easy and I find I need constant and regular immersion in nature or the very least, a lot of space for reflection.

Even on super crazy busy days, moments where I catch a glimpse of the infinite are those when I notice something, it may sometimes only be a brief moment, like the other morning, looking outside the window towards the distant forested hills. They were covered in a thick blanket of mist cascading in slow motion. It took my breath away and filled me with deep gratitude and made me smile. I heard my inner voice utter ‘wow!’ And in that moment I was experiencing the humble effect.

The Humble Effect
A fallen feather, take flight to new experiences. Look closely, you may just discover the infinite. Binna Burra, Lamington National Park.


In the story of Thumblelina, this tiny girl eventually falls in love with a flower-fairy prince who is her size. They wed and she receives a pair of wings to accompany her new husband from flower to flower. She also receives a new name, Maia.

Size Matters

To me there are a few morals that I take from the story.

Firstly, Thumbelina discovers that size does matter. Being thumble, I mean, thumb size, is a humble size.

Humility is the gateway to experience the humble effect. Through accepting the minuscule she discovers her soulmate.

The Humble Effect: Looking Beyond the Microchasm of the Mind
Humans have always been inspired by the beauty of flowers. Even a single flower in a room brings it to life and has the power us to connect us deeply to nature. Native hibiscus growing in our backyard.

Magic of the Minuscule

Secondly, her soulmate she discovers, is ‘just her size’. He is a flower-fairy, the stuff of fairy tales! Seriously, only the ignorant and superstitious believe in fairies you may think? Yet, this ‘heart-knowing’ is what I think the Vedas are about.

Thumbelina teaches us to go with our inner feeling so we too can discover the magic in the minuscule. The story teaches us to look within, to follow our heart not logic and to find magic in the little things and we too may be given wings.

I think of Steve Job’s famous quote, ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish’, and I can’t help but want too change it to, ‘Stay humble, stay foolish.’ In other words, to see the infinite in the infinitesimal and to believe in the magic of the universe. The magic being what we don’t understand and is beyond our comprehension and feeling awed by not knowing, and by awed, I don’t mean fearful, but inspired.

The Humble Effect
Buddhists believe that through meditation and stillness we can lift veil of illusion that keeps us bound to an endless cycle of suffering. Some Buddhists live in forest and within the stillness of the forest practice meditation. Statue of Buddha in accommodation we stayed in when in Singapore this year.


Thirdly, when she weds the flower-fairy prince, when she connects with her smallness, when she lets go of ego, to connect with another, to the universe, she is given a new name. That new name is Maia.

In Sanskrit, the word maya means illusion. By letting go of ego she lifts the veil of illusion that outer knowledge creates and inner knowledge removes, she climbs out of the narrow chasm of the mind, to again be humbled by just a glimpse of the infinite.

The Humble Effect
This is Jill who was found in the laundry of Gold Coast University Hospital. With dwindling forest habitat on the Gold Coast due to over development, koalas are increasingly becoming victims of vehicle and dog accidents and deaths, stress related illnesses, and misadventure. When we begin to chunk down how we view our native wildlife and see them as individuals instead of categorising them as ‘wildlife’ or ‘koalas’ it changes our perspective entirely. We gain a heart felt perspective that changes our whole being.

The Infinite Into The Infinitesimal

So how do you experience the infinite on a regular basis? In a nutshell, be open to experiencing the infinitesimal in your daily life. As I have discussed, for me, nature opens up this door. I am humbled by nature – I experience awe, I am inspired by her beauty, I am moved to tears when I intimately get to know her and see the destruction we have inflicted upon her.

I think about the last 9 months since coming back from the long walk. I am astounded when I look at the photos I have taken in my iPhone in that time that remind me of the moments I have experienced and the heart openings I have had, most have happened through connecting with nature.

The Humble Effect
This is Beatrix the brushtail possum. She was orphaned and brought into care. She was one of two possums that Heid raised from a minuscule 200 grams ‘pinky’. Having this intimate care of an animal has totally transformed our perspective on how we see animals. Just like humans are individuals, Beatrix is an individual with her own unique personality. When you see animals as individuals you can no longer turn a blind eye to the issues of habitat loss that they increasingly face. When you look deep into a baby possums eyes you no longer question or doubt that they have a soul.

I have looked into the eyes of an orphaned possum joey and melted. I have come to realise that each animal has their own personality. That they feel, that they have a soul, that they are sentient beings. Not too long ago, I would have understood the importance to preserve our natural heritage, the environment, the habitats of animals and plants, and the animals and plants themselves.

Yet since my wife Heidi has been caring for wildlife I have gained a deeper more heart felt understanding of living beings, and the sacredness of every creature from a tiny ant to a huge blue whale.

When you begin to see all living creatures as individuals, you can no longer ‘see’ them as ‘animals’ or ‘plants’. This lumping or categorising rips them of their significance and our connection to them. When this door was opened it has begun to change the way I saw the world. Looking into the little removes the veil of illusion, of logic, language, words, categories, systems. It opens us up to the inner knowing, the heart, the unseen, the unsaid, the feeling, Veda.

The Humble Effect
Increasingly not only wildlife are challenged by habitat loss, but those that have to pick up the pieces because of human greed, the wildlife carers, face great challenges. One of these challenges is finding suitable ‘leaf’ to feed wildlife such as koalas and possums in their care. Volunteer wildlife carers can spend anything from 2 – 4 hours travelling to find leaves to feed their charges. Land has become of such great commercial value that establishing fodder farms and maintaining them has been in itself challenging. This is a fodder farm in the Logan City Shire. Once we dig deeper and go down the rabbit hole we discover a world of such conflicting and challenging complexity brought about by our destruction of the natural world.

Jainism and Vegeterianism

Jainism is an ancient Indian religion practiced by four to five million followers. The Jain have a reverence for all living things and avoid harm to animals and their life cycles. They lead a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle and even though I am not a vegetarian I am beginning to understand on a deeper heart-felt level the draw to vegetarianism to end suffering to other living beings.

The Humble Effect
A simple thing as stumbling upon a Land Mullet, a jet black glossy skink, along a walk in Springbrook can trigger the Humble effect. The feeling of wonder and joy on discovering this rare and elusive creature who was sunning himself in a pool of sunlight literally stopped me in my tracks. I was frozen still not wanting to move and just relish the experience of admiring the beauty of this creature.

Earth/Heart Connection

’Heart’ and ‘Earth’ are an anagram of each other and I don’t see this as a mere coincidence. When we ‘earth’ ourselves we bring ourselves back to our centre, our ‘heart’.

In a world dominated by logic and reason, by rationality and the need to ‘rationalise’ or speak our logic, spending time in nature can quieten us down, to experience silence, and be receptive to Earth’s energy and wisdom.

The Humble Effect
We are humans – we come from the humus or earth, we are of the earth. A shadow of my hand upon a tree trunk reminded me of indigenous and Neolithic cave paintings of hands. It reminded me of our temporary existence and the need to leave shadows upon the earth not permanent footprints. Like a branching palm leaf, it reminds me that humans are part of nature. Warri Circuit, Springbrook National Park.

Making Us Human

I believe that it is nature that can make us ‘human’. I also think that we need to regularly connect to the earth to connect with our centre, our heart. We often forget that we are earthly beings, like the animals and plants around us.

We are humus ‘earth’ beings, as opposed to gods. We are part of the earth, and from the Judaic, Christian and Islamic faiths, we came from Adam which in Hebrew means ‘man’ which in turns comes from adamah which meant ‘ground’.

The Humble Effect: Looking Beyond the Microchasm of the Mind
Humans for all or destructive tendencies have a deep need to connect with nature. The love that we show our pets can be a portal for us to gain greater awareness of all those living beings beyond our immediate care and remind us of our collective responsibility to care for all of nature. Heidi’s aunt Julie with Molly.

Human Experiences

So to have human or earthly experiences it is in our DNA to want to feel connected in some way to nature.

Some ways in which many of us connect to nature on a regular basis includes:

• walking in nature

.• having flowers in the house. Even people in high rise apartments enjoy having potted plants on their balconies.

The Humble Effect
Potted plants even in small apartment balconies help connect us with the natural world. Plants can have a calming effect on us and reduce our stress levels. This miniature piece of nature in a pot was in the courtyard of Spell & the Gypsy in Byron Bay. While Heidi was inside the store buying clothes I was in the courtyard lost in these miniature worlds.

• gardening

• going to the local park, being surrounded by green spaces.

• having pets.

• planting trees with your local community.

• watching wildlife documentaries.

I see our need to connect with nature even when I look at my cappuccino and the beautiful organic leaf design on the frothy milk!

The Humble Effect
This heritage building in Singapore with its island of greenery amongst sprawling glass and concrete towers reminds us that we need to get back to a human scale of living, where our buildings and our environment foster our connection with nature.

Need For Green

At the start of the year we went to Singapore, an island that is just under double the size of the Gold Coast. This tiny island state with no natural resources has become an economic powerhouse.

With a population estimated in 2017 as being 5,612,300, Singapore is densely built up yet still manages to have green areas for citizens to enjoy. With a density of 7,796 people per square kilometre [2], it is the third most dense country on earth, and green space becomes even more of an importance for the physical and mental health of the population.

Tiger Island

In fact, Singapore was not that long ago completely covered in tropical forest and swamps where tigers roamed freely.

During the mid-18th to early 19th century tigers were intensively hunted, increasingly so as a bounty for their capture or killing was put on their heads. The government at the time gave a reward of $20 for every tiger killed. The last wild tiger in Singapore was killed in the 1930s. [3]

It is sad and quite ironic that Singapore’s iconic Tiger Beer is all that is left to remind us of these magnificent animals.

The Humble Effect
A public bathroom in a cafe in Singapore becomes a comforting green oasis. We have a deep need to surround ourselves with natural beauty, for such natural beauty is a door to experiencing appreciation and gratitude – the Humble effect.

Kill Kill Kill

Singapore is a good example of how humans behave.

We have a need to create order out of apparent chaos, to quell our fear through death and destruction of what we don’t understand, to control our environment.

Singapore is a very orderly island state, just like its people, its rules and regulations, its clean streets and MRT stations and trains, so too are its green spaces. The trees are perfectly manicured, and there is a sense of order that even the plants need to conform to!

The Humble Effect
This was an incredible exhibition at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore taking us on a journey of our scientific and historical exploration of the natural world. I couldn’t help but feel sad seeing the stuffed carcassses of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger next to the Bengal Tiger and thinking with dread that tigers too are on their slippery slide to extinction and that one day the only place we may be able to experience these magnificent creatures is through seeing a lifeless stuffed carcass and label in a museum. Museums try to bring things to life, yet for all the knowledge they provide, they cannot bring back the dead, only speak of the dead.


While in Singapore we visited the Singapore’s ArtScience Museum and the world-class Singapore Zoo. It is only now, after many months do I see the big picture of how we humans destroy what we don’t fully understand. It came about as I looked through a series of photographs of tigers I had taken in Singapore.

Museum in Latin were places sacred to the Muses. They were buildings devoted to learning or the arts. We often walk around quietly to not disturb others.

Looking at images of a stuffed lifeless tiger next to an extinct Tasmanian Tiger I couldn’t help but feel deep sadness. I understood intuitively how we ‘silence’ that what we don’t understand. That what we don’t understand we often try to mute or muzzle, sometimes as in the case of the Singapore tiger…. permanently.

Museums are necropolises to our penchant for destruction. Destruction in our feeble attempt to create order out of chaos, to understand the unknowable, to through knowledge take control.

The Humble Effect
A Siberian Tiger, stopping to rest from its incessant pacing in its simulated environment at Singapore Zoo. I had mixed feelings of pathos and awe seeing this magnificent creature confined to an environment so alien to it knowing that this may be the last place we may ever see tigers as we continue to destroy the habitat of these wild creatures.


We couldn’t visit Singapore without visiting its incredible zoo. I always have had a mixed feeling about zoos. They are important as they can provide valuable awareness of our natural world and the challenges that it faces, often brought about by human activities.

It is here that I saw a majestic white tiger in a simulated environment. The animal sat and then paced around its enclosure, round and round the same routine, over and over again.

This is how humans feel safe to see tigers – behind barriers, controlled, safe.

Zoos may be the only and last place the majority of humans will ever have to come close to connecting with many incredible animal species before their inevitable slide to extinction and who’s only other connection may one day be with a lifeless stuffed animal in a museum.

As pathetic and sad it was to see this incredible creature reduced to spending life in a prison, seeing it move and hearing the deep rumble and energy of its voice was a humbling experience.

The Humble Effect
Within the palm of my hand is the secrets to the universe. We destroy what we don’t fully understand. When we spend quiet time in nature it opens our heart so that we experience an earth-heart connection. It is in these moments that the universe is revealed to us on a level beyond our minds. Unfurling tree fern frond, Warrie Circuit, Springbrook.

Custodians Not Controllers

Humans have incredibly destructive power as well as creative genius. In 2017 one football pitch of forest was lost every second worldwide. Yet, we can create we works of art, that connect us to our inner muse, to the earth, in a simple coffee cup.

Again, I think about all the diverse experiences I have had in the past 9 months, even a painting in a local gallery can connect us to nature, to experience the humble effect.

The Humble Effect
When I saw this painting, which this image is a close up, I was immediately experiencing the humble effect. The colours, shapes, patterns took me directly to nature. I felt my heart opening, my eyes fill with wonder, and the breathtaking beauty took my breath away. To me this is the closest I have come to experiencing the humble effect through not nature itself but its interpretation and depiction. Indigenous cultures have a connection with nature and this painting took me to a heart space that indigenous instinctively possess. Detail of Rainforest Dreaming, part of an exhibition called Yarga Ya Gwong (Wind and Rain) by Goompi Ugerabah held at Gallery One, at the Brickworks on the Gold Coast April 14th – April 29th, 2018.

This close-up image of a painting, entitled ‘Rainforest Dreaming’ is by a local Australian indigenous artist, Goompi Ugerabah. The shapes, patterns and intensity of colour, illicit in me a deep sense of appreciation for the beauty of our natural world.

The Humble Effect
One of numerous painted koala sculptures, part of the annual Hello Koala Festival held in Port Macquarie. We travelled down to Port Macquarie for the conference where people involved in koala management and conservation were present. There were professionals such as scientists, Government representatives, as well as zoologist, forestry staff and volunteer wildlife carers. Koalas are such a politically charged subject as we see the steady decline in the population of our national icon. This sculpture was at the Koala Hospital, Port Macquarie. Cultural events such as Hello Koala can help to bring awareness to our natural world and hopefully one day bring about a significant paradigm shift in how we relate you our natural world.

Indigenous cultures have a deep connection to nature that is intuitive and instinctive. They relied on their environment for the survival and developed a deep intimate connection with nature. They understood that they were part of a bigger picture, they experienced the humble effect on a daily basis.

The Humble Effect
Something as simple as a poster at a bus shelter can help bring about change informing both locals and international visitors of the need to nurture our vulnerable wildlife. Saw this on a 30km coastal walk earlier in the year I did from The Spit to Coolangatta, Gold Coast.


One way to help bring about a change in the way we connect with nature is through cultural awareness. Where museums often catalogue and compartmentalise our world that is and what was, culture can be a living thing.

We can look into different cultures that lived in harmony with nature and see what we can learn from them. Indigenous cultures are often seen as ‘other’. We often trivialise their importance, and because their knowledge and beliefs are not based on accepted science or religion we often dismiss what they have to give us.

The Humble Effect
If we can encourage children to keep their hearts open, to not lose that sense of child-like wonder, we may very well create a culture of connection. Alexander and I exploring Palm Grove National Park, Mt Tamborine with the massive buttress roots of a rainforest giant in the background.

Environmental Awareness

A more profound and immersive way is to simply spend time in or with nature. Hearing all that we have destroyed is not what I am talking about but simply walking through a rainforest, smelling the damp earth air, looking up at gigantic trees, hearing a bird call echo through the forest. These experiences can ground us back to nature, can ‘humanise’ and connect us back to our hearts.

A few months ago I took some friends from Sydney on a walk through a rainforest on Mt Tamborine. Their 4 year old son, Alexander, was screaming and carrying on as 4 year olds can do. I felt that at such a young age he was walking through this incredibly beautiful and biodiverse forest with his eyes closed, or the very least, walking through a chasm with 100 foot walls.

The Humble Effect
A quiet walk through nature can reveal its treasures. When we walk softly, humbly, respectfully, our heart opens up, as does our natural world. Lamington Spiny Blue Crayfish in a mountain stream at Binna Burra. To me it is a privilege to stand silently as such a exquisite creature recognises my presence and in my stillness goes about its life. It is a humbling experience and in that moment I feel a deep connection. No longer do I see what we categorise as an ‘animal’ but simply part of the magnificent manifestation of nature, from which I am part of and intimately connected.

I held his hand and started to show him things that were right in front of him. I pointed to a log that was covered in the most intricate fungi. I explained to his parents how fungi are the great recyclers of the forest. Next I showed Alexander how intricate pattern the roots of the bungalow palm along the trail made. I got him to walk silently and listen to the sounds of the forest.

In that moment I knew that Alexander was experiencing the humble effect. He had quitened right down and was starting to explore with wonder what our heart sees.

The Humble Effect
Community events such as tree planting can bring about education, awareness and connection to our natural environment. This was the organiser of a Landcare tree planting event and land holder of whose land we planted trees on at Cedar Grove.

Awareness Brings Change

I think we are beginning to see the humble effect take hold as more and more people realise the importance of connecting with nature. On the same hand, I see how legislation and environmental laws still seem to favour those intent on destroying the very things we rely on for our physical and psychological nourishment.

The Humble Effect
There will be a time that is still to come when governments, corporations and businesses will be held accountable for the willfull destruction of our natural world. I hope that this will happen in our lifetime in time to stop the tiger from going the way of the Tasmanian Tiger to be only seen as a curiosity and a sad reminder in a museum exhibit. ArtScience Museum, Singapore.


I think there will come a time when humans remember as did our ancestors, that we are earthly and earthy beings, we come from the humus, the earth that we destroy, the earth that feeds us, that sustains us.

The Humble Effect
Could this be the future of our incredibly unique wildlife? Will we rediscover our heart-earth connection before it is too late? Painted stylised timber tiger and other animal figurines for sale at the shop inside the Red Dot Museum in Singapore.

I think the time will come that those that wantonly destroy our shared natural environment will be brought to justice. There will be a time when we will be brought to task to shift the way we see our natural world, where earth law will make us accountable for our actions. Where ecocide will be a common word, where environmental legislation will be strong and enforced, where we respect all living beings.

The Humble Effect
Discovering and experiencing my connection to the earth. I climbed Mt Warning, or what has been mistakenly called by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife as Wollumbin. On the way down I felt a heart opening to connect more deeply to this sacred mountain. I took off my shoes so I could feel the earth and rock intimately. I ran down barefoot, and I learned that when I lost the connection to heart and earth and wandered into mind and fear, I was given a painful lesson as my foot and bones jarring with rock. When I let go of thought and allowed the intelligence of my body to connect with earth, I ran down as if rock skating down the mountain to the horror of other climbers thinking I must have lost my marbles. I later found through a comment from an indigenous custodian on social media that the real name of the mountain isn’t Wollumbin but Wulambiny Momoli (Turkey Nest).

Sacred Earth

Every square inch of this finite planet is sacred.

There will come a time when we will experience a mass paradigm shift where we understand just how finite this planet is and how interconnected everything is. We will learn that just because we don’t fully understand how the universe and everything in it works that we can’t continue on our crime spree. It will be a heart felt response, beyond logic, but one that comes from deep within our earth-heart connection.

The Humble Effect
Eden is our natural heart state that connects us to earth. This mural in a subway in Singapore harks to a time before modern technology and sky scrapers and traffic. It speaks of a simpler time when we understood deeply that our very survival both physically and spiritually depended on nature.

Sacred Not Scared

Another image I took in Singapore was of a subway mural. It depicted an idyllic island scene pre-Singapore’s existence. There were naked indigenous people, surrounded by nature, hibiscus flowers, butterflies – humans in harmony with nature.

The mural continues and there is a ferocious tiger -his eyes narrowed, his gnarling mouth revealing sharp teeth. In this moment one can see Why tigers were hunted into oblivion – fear was perpetuated by culture, and it will take this same cultural awareness to transform our fear of the unknown, of nature, of the other, from scared to sacred.

The Humble Effect
Within the same mural in a subway in Singapore is an image of a menacing tiger, who’s physical presence has since been eliminated.

Scarred For Life

Just like the environmental destruction humans have ravaged upon the earth, the scars can heal. Scars are the body’s way of healing trauma. Scars close cuts, fill chasms, and give opportunity for new life. Scars are a sign that we have healed.

Earthly Paradise

Just like the images in the subway of islanders in harmony with nature, we too can rediscover our Paradise Lost, re-enter our earthly paradise simply by remembering who we really are. We are humans. We are of the earth. We have nothing to fear. We need not analyse, dissect, destroy. We need simply to reconnect to our hearts through the earth.

The Humble Effect
Humans look for the familiar, for patterns, to make sense of their world. When we free our mind, and open our heart to the universe, we too may just like the silent sages whom in the forests were revealed the Veda, discover the great secrets of life.

Beyond Rhyme or Reason

Rhymes are patterns. They are the repetition of similar sounding words. We find comfort in the familiar.

Reason is logic. It is also about finding patterns. It is about making sense out of apparent chaos and speaking this apparent ‘truth’. It is about building walls to keep away all that does not fit into our logic, yet strangely feels comforting to live with lies.

The Humble Effect
The sublime can take us out of our head into the realm of the heart. It can connect us to earth so we may experience the humble effect. Looking out from Springbrook escarpment as waterfalls plunge into rainforest below.


Beyond rhyme and reason there is the sublime.

It is through the sublime that we can become human again. The sublime lifts us up beyond the dark chasm walls of our limited ‘truths’. Sublime comes from – sublimis – high + limen – lintel, threshold. Effectively, beyond the threshold or lintel that holds up our limited knowledge.

The sublime can be reached through standing on a high cliff and witnessing the movement of clouds across a sweeping vista. It can be experienced through watching plants in your garden grow and blossom, or from leaf blossoming in your coffee cup!

The Humble Effect
Our need to connect with nature is expressed in the floral pattern in the milk in our coffee. A violent storm or a quiet cup of coffee can connect us to the sublime.

It is the slowing down to witness the small, or our smallness and all the universe’s connections, not on a cerebral but a heart-felt level.

The small takes us to the subjective.

The Humble Effect
Connecting to nature through direct experience or art can be heart opening. Looking up at a tree i the rainforest. Warrie Circuit, Springbrook.

So Below As Above

Subjective comes from subjectivus which in Latin means placed beneath and Middle English suget which means as above.

Through subjective connection reached through stillness when connecting to nature, as did the Vedic sages living in forests, we can go beyond. Through connecting with our heart we can go both above and below our narrow understanding of the Universe and touch the divine.

The Humble Effect
Nature inspires us. It can transport us beyond the narrow confines of our brains and elevate us to sublime heights. It is quiet ironic that we have created concrete jungles and spend millions of dollars to create experiences that simulate nature yet in an ordered structured way. Gardens By The Bay in Singapore are amazing structures and the night show is a highlight to this island, yet it is hard to escape the irony of human beings that first destroy and then want to create nature ‘in their own image of perfection’.

The Humboldt Current

I conclude these words to where we started talking about Humboldt. Through his various studies of the cosmos, seeing beyond a microchasmic view of the universe, he was one of the first to connect human activities with climate change.

Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt also lent his name to the Humboldt Current, a cold, low salinity current that flows north along the western coast of South America. He reported measurements of the current in his book Cosmos.The current brings an upwelling of nutrients creating the richest fishing grounds in the world.

Humboldt was a Romantic, he combine scientific and philosophical views of the universe. He suggest that when one contemplates the beauty of the cosmos, one can obtain personal inspiration and a beneficial, if subjective, awareness about life.[2]

The Humble Effect
We put our hand on our heart (not our head) to swear a solemn truth. Similarly, if we can put our hand on the earth In silence, nature will reveal its truths. The humble effect is the joy, gratitude, inspiration, reverence, awe we feel when we trust our heart, our door to earth. Alocasia leaf, Springbrook.

The Humble Effect

You too can discover a deep upwelling when you connect with the sublime. The sublime can leave us in awe or fear, in appreciation, or inspired. It can fill our hearts with the energy of the earth and establish our connection to our universe.

The Humble Effect will show you that deep within you lies knowledge beyond your external learning. The Vedic sages taught us to stay humble and to stay foolish to discover the magic of existence.

The Humble Effect teaches you to follow your heart not your head, after all, your heart is the centre of your true intelligence and the intelligence of the universe. Coronary after all comes from the word ‘crown’. Follow your heart because it is the true source of ‘truth’.









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