“If you have no relationship with nature, you have no relationship with man”
- J. Krishnamurti
Although much of the time we view ourselves as being this mind and body, separate from nature and our surroundings, we are all actually part of the same wholeness. Nature is our extended body. Everything you do affects the nature around you and everything that happens in nature influences you. Just go outside and start your car engine and something changes. If it stops raining and the sun comes out, you feel quite different. When we appreciate our oneness with nature, we can begin to fully embrace our part in its magnificence.
Nature is the natural, physical, or material world or universe. Nature is pure, supporting all forms of life and abundant resources. Nature is all the animals, birds, plants, rivers, oceans and other things in the world that are not made by people. It’s also all the events and processes that are not caused by people. Nature is what's primarily available to us in its pristine form before we humans start rearranging it to suit our needs. It’s an incredible wonder that supports our economy, our society and our very existence. Our forests, rivers, oceans and soils provide us with the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink. We depend on nature for our health, happiness and prosperity. And best of all, nature is free.
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” - Laura Ingalls Wilder
The most amazing thing about nature is its infinite variety. Nature reflects the unlimited imagination and abundant creativity of the mind of the Divine. Its beauty is in its aliveness and ability to constantly recreate itself. Where manmade things remain static or deteriorate, nature constantly renews itself. We can go almost anywhere in nature and derive a sense of pleasure simply by looking at it. It is hard for humankind to come close to producing such beauty in such quantity.
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in”. - John Muir
The beauty that we experience around us can unlock the beauty within us. Nature is one of the most healing experiences we can have. Just being surrounded by nature, its sights and sounds brings calm, joy and balance to the entire physiology. Spend time silently communing nature, listening. The wind through the trees, rain falling, thunder, the songs of birds are all primordial sounds, the most basic sounds of creation. Just hearing them reconnects us with our essence and opens us to the eternal quality of life.
"Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun, go out and seek haziness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself with and without you and be happy". - Anne Frank
Try these simple, yet potent, practices to find connection with nature and its limitless beauty:
- Watch a sunrise
- Count the colors of a rainbow.
- Feel the sun on your face, breeze through your hair.
- Walk barefoot, like you’re kissing the earth with each step.
- Feel the rough bark of a tree or the gentleness of a leaf.
- Listen to the roar of a river or the whisper of a stream.
- Smell the earth after rain
- Enjoy a ripe, freshly picked fruit.
- Stick out your tongue to taste the rain
You are not in the Universe, you ARE the Universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately, you are not a person, but a focal point where the Universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle. - Eckhart Tolle
On a clear night, find a safe place where you can lie on your back, away from most artificial lights. With your eyes open, gaze effortlessly into the heavens. Gradually allow your gaze to expand further and further, deeper into space. Drifting through galaxies and solar systems as far as you can. Look deep into the eternal, immortal face of the Divine. Close your eyes, let the confines of your body dissolve as you become one with the universe. Imagine the stars and planets floating within you, as you.
“There's nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you've been missing the whole point of the ocean.” - Dave Barry
In the pure, Golden Age of Sat Yuga nature was appreciated as another aspect of our selves, with which we could interact fully. Because of separation, much of this has been lost, except for limited, superficial communication with animals and plants. Nature is patiently waiting for our return, but we must look deeper, beneath the surface, to the treasures lying there.
When Maharishi Mahesh Yogi first began promoting the natural science of Ayurvedic medicine in the West, he introduced us to great practitioners of this ancient wisdom, some of whom were deeply connected with nature. I remember one, Balraj Maharshi, who had spent most of his life living and working humbly in South India. It was said that he knew the medicinal uses for 6000 different plants. When asked how he accomplished this he explained that he would walk through the forests and simply ask planets to tell him what they should be used for. Or, if he was treating a particular illness, he would go into the forest and call out a request to the plants until one offered itself as the cure.
“When you are appreciating creation as much as the Creator, then the Creator will ask, 'Who is appreciating my creation as much as me? Let me see this person.' " - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Nowadays we are only too aware of the effects of climate change. If we are to continue as a species living on this planet, it’s important that every individual protects nature - recycle, conserve water, shop wisely, plant a tree, clean up the neighborhood, conserve energy, use less plastic. Appreciating nature also means taking care of ourselves, keeping our body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos, the trees, the clouds, everything. Appreciation is expressed through gratitude. Say thank you to some aspect of nature every day, whether it’s the song of a bird, a fresh bloom, your favorite tree or a magnificent view. Here are a few words of gratitude you can repeat at mealtimes.
Blessed be the earth for giving birth to this food
Blessed be the sun for nourishing it
Blessed be the wind for carrying its seed
Blessed be the rain for quenching its thirst
Blessed be the hands that helped to grow this food
That cooked this food and brought it to our tables,
To nourish our minds, bodies and spirits
Blessed be our friends, families and loved ones
Blessed be all.
Nature is very wise. Let’s face it, it was here long before we were and will, no doubt, be here long after we’ve gone. Attune yourself with nature and you never know what you just might learn. Here’s some advice from a tree:
Stand tall and proud, go out on a limb, reach for the sky, branch out, stay grounded, remember your roots, drink plenty of water, get rid of dead wood, never stop growing, bend before you break, turn over a new leaf, enjoy the view.
We build temples, churches and holy shrines, places where we hope to find our concept of the Divine. Just step outside, the living, breathing, magnificent Divine is always waiting, ready to embrace us in its loving arms. The sacred doesn’t hide from us, it’s always on display, it is we who fail to see it. Open your eyes, open all your senses, take a deep breath and fall in love with nature.
Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything you will perceive the mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all embracing love. - Fyodor Dostoevsky