Some of you know that I am a ‘nature’ walker, and that I am often looking for opportunities to look at the trails that I walk with new light, perspectives and framing. The results of some of these ‘nature walks’ is often shared in photographs, poetry and short writings.
It wasn’t until this week, sitting in a Biom* workshop over two days, that the idea emerged — there is a deeper, long-term, holistic effect of these walks on my being. One speaker talked about the importance of ideation in the fields of biomimicry, biomimetics and bioinspiration. All of these fields, collectively called Biom*, are connected in the origin of the idea that nature and biology already have created a lot of solutions to some of our grand-challenge problems.
If we are to believe that some of these solutions already exist in nature, then the question becomes – how do we ‘define’ our complex human problems in a language that biological systems can understand? It is in the creation of this common language where ideas and ideation comes in.
How often is it that someone’s ‘new idea’ or ‘new theory’ is laughed at and dismissed? What if there were a repository or knowledge base, where the innovations required to make the new idea a reality, could be compared with existing natural and biological solutions? The goal of Biom* is to create a ‘safe space’ for the the ‘idea person’ and their ideation. It is to provide a canvas, buckets of paint and paint brushes, for ideation to create new masterpieces with the help of nature and her infinitely diversified and brilliant solutions.
The workshop happened on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, after a mixup about the time for my dental appointment, I decided to go walking before I went into work. The idea, the question, that I held in my heart was – how could I apply what I had just learnt over the past two days about Biom*? In search of the answer, I found myself slowing down even more than usual during the walk.
I started a conversation with an ex-marine walking his Siberian husky on the trail. He told me that there were some American Eagle nests in the thicket of trees across the water, but he hadn’t seen them in a few weeks. Fifteen minutes later, I had stopped downriver to watch some bees working with a bunch of flowers who had all their petals folded backwards. A fluttering of wings, and I looked up to see a dozen mallard duck in full and swift flight, traveling upriver. What’s their hurry, I wondered? And then, there they were, a minute or so later. Two bald eagles flying upriver, in virtually silent flight, painting with majestic brushstrokes against a clear blue canvas.
So, what does ideation have to do with spirituality, our spiritual journey? Let me posit that if and when we choose to appreciate our inherent talent for ideation, we can grow creativity. When we grow creativity, we can grow solutions to all of our complex challenges. If we were to be heart-facing towards any idea which is simple, credible, ‘tells a story’, and enhances value for humans and the ecosystems that we live in, then we are enhancing human values, aren’t we?
Perhaps bioinspiration can create a better conversation between our ideals and ideation, between us and our ecosystems, and All of Life that surrounds us. What can be a better spiritual practice than that?
P.S. Join us for our weekly chat, Sunday Sep 15 at 9amET ~ I will bring some Qs and tea, you can bring some new ideas! – @AjmaniK
Reference: Ask Nature Database – http://www.asknature.org