What is at work here? Whether a large body of water or a vista, they connect me to the infinite nature of the universe, the primal forces that are present. Probably that's why I've always been interested in astronomy, in what's out there. Connecting with forces beyond me, beyond the known. Connecting with the abundance and beauty of the universe.
I believe that is also what draws me to good music and beautiful art. It's not just the aesthetic quality, which is pleasing; it connects me with something deeper, spiritual.
It is the spirituality of nature, beyond man's control, and of man himself when he is in touch with the presence of the divinity within him, that nourishes me. Because that feeds the divinity within me, my true Buddha nature.
I function very well in cities, but i need access to this spiritual dimension, which can come from a high-rise with a beautiful vista (not just other buildings), or something that dwarfs or is apart from the man-made environment (like Lack Michigan in Chicago). Central Park and Prospect Park in New York City, for example, lovely as they are, don't work for me because they are very much a part of the man-made environment. They feel like nature in a cage.
The other thing that nourishes me, being human, is human contact. Which means contact with people that is not fraught with the things that usually drive people, that has instead a spiritual quality. The contact does not have to be deep or intellectual, just human, pure, honest. Given the way we are raised and the society in which we live, that is not easy to come by. I am grateful that when I go to temple, this is what I receive from the sangha. And I have found that if I radiate light when in public, even in this impersonal space, I will get an occasional positive response.
If I know that this is what nourishes me, how can I increase the nourishment in my life? We make decisions every day about what direction our lives will take, both on matters large and small. Typically the mind has a large say in these decisions. Even when one has turned one's will and life over to the care of your Buddha nature, your divinity, when you have surrendered your ego, emptied yourself of yourself, the mind still seeks to have influence, just like Mara would consistently tempt the Buddha.
And not being enlightened, even if you are aware of this, it is a challenge to distinguish whether the guidance you are receiving is coming from the mind or from your heart. Clearly if it causes you suffering, then as the Buddha said, "this is not you, this is not yours, this is not your self;" I know it is not coming from my heart. But that is not always the case, or better put, by the time I realize it is causing suffering, I have already invested time and energy in the wrong path. This is a painful lesson.
My intent is to be ever vigilant so that this knowledge and awareness of what nourishes me influences all my actions and activities.