We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
–Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Oh, nature. I haven’t been able to get enough of it lately! It seems like every weekend—and much of my free time during the week—is filled with visits to local parks to explore the forests, contemplate life while gazing over reflective lakes, and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the earth. The more I spend time in nature, the more I realize what a gift it truly is. The earth is alive, and it sustains us! It is teeming with life-giving energy and nourishment. It’s hard not to feel amazing after spending an afternoon by a lake or in the woods.
Nature is a paradox of sorts. As in the quote above by Thoreau, nature is a perfect example of how something can be concrete yet mysterious at the same time. It is vast yet explorable. It is tangible yet infinite. Perhaps our natural world serves as a symbol for the lives we live: we prefer to be certain and secure about various aspects of our lives, but at the same time, uncertainty is a part of the very essence of life.
Nature whispers to us. When we walk through the woods, the passing of the breeze through the leaves and the chirping of birds resonate with our souls. The sounds and sights heal us. This is no accident—we were never meant to spend so much time indoors, in artificial light, under such a great degree of stress. We need nature to help us connect with our Source—with who we really are in our souls—in order to live our best lives possible.
This idea is discussed in many places, one of which is the book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. If you are unfamiliar with the Seven Spiritual Laws, I highly recommend taking a look at this book. It deals with all the ways in which we can attract the greatest possible degree of joy, success, and connection into our lives. The first of the seven laws is the Law of Pure Potentiality, which essentially states that we are one with our Source, and that we are capable of infinite creativity—of fulfilling any dream we have. One of the ways we can strengthen our connection to our Source, it asserts, is by communing with nature, perhaps by watching a sunset, sitting by the ocean or a stream, or smelling a flower. In this way, we witness the beauty and glory of creation, and we are able to connect with this field of all possibilities. This is no new concept—it has been explored and discussed throughout history.
It is so important to spend time in nature. The benefits of communing with nature can be further reaped if we spend intentional time in nature. This goes back to the principle of mindfulness—of being present with the environment around us. When I go walking in the park, I love to do a walking meditation of sorts. I know that some people, when they do a walking meditation, focus on the feeling of their footsteps, the muscles in their legs, their breathing, and other things that are going on within their own bodies. However, when I do a walking meditation, I shift my focus to my environment: I notice the way the autumn leaves look as they flutter in the wind; I notice the way the breeze feels on my face. I listen to the sounds of chipmunks scurrying through the leaves on the forest floor; I inhale the scent of the fresh, crisp air. When I take the time to take note of everything going on around me, I am immediately grounded, and I am able to experience the full healing effects of communing with the earth.
The walking meditation is one of my favorite techniques for spending intentional time in nature. However, other ideas could include:
- Sketching, painting, or photographing things you find in nature
- Sitting outside (perhaps directly on the ground) and breathing deeply
- Making crafts out of natural elements
- Writing about your experiences in nature
- Engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, or skiing
The opportunities are endless; however, the important thing is that we do spend time in nature and that we appreciate its gifts. It will heal us. It will reconnect us with our Source. It will make us infinitely creative and divinely powerful.
Do you like to spend time in nature? What are your favorite things to do outside? Tell me about it in the comments!