Personal Growth

How Nature Can Help You to Evolve

How Nature Can Help You to Evolve
One of the major trends in society today is that millions of people are choosing to improve their inner lives through meditation, Yoga, contemplative practices, and more positive lifestyle choices that reduce stress and chronic illness. This individual effort feels personal, of course, but all evolution happens in the surroundings of Nature. Evolution is a natural force. We see it working on our planet as the evolution of life, but there is also the force of cosmic evolution.

You can use both kinds of evolution to help you reach your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual goals. The force of evolution always favors certain aspects of life over the opposite. Let’s take a look at some examples …

1. Evolution Increases Energy; the Opposite is Entropy, which Dissipates Energy

In the universe, energy is constantly winding down, getting cooler, and increasing the inertia in creation. Stars and galaxies burn out, for example. Yet in the opposite direction, there are local areas where energy increases (known as islands of negative entropy). Life on Earth is such an island. All life forms are nourished by sunlight, which causes plants to grow through photosynthesis. A food chain developed over billions of years, and as long as you continue to eat and replenish your body, you are an island of negative entropy.

With this simple fact in mind, you can see that it is vital to regard your body as your life partner, your strongest ally, and support system. Just as your cells metabolize food, air, and water, you metabolize experience, because every experience becomes part of the mind-body system through intricate biochemical pathways.

Leaving science aside, the lesson here is to avoid inertia, to favor positive input into the system over negative input. Positive input includes:

  • Positive emotions
  • Loving relationships
  • Secure bonds with other people
  • Pure food, water, and air
  • Good rest at night
  • Periods of physical activity during the day
Inertia feels dull, heavy, lethargic, and burdensome. Evolution feels light, alert, and energizing.

2. Evolution Extends Beyond the Physical Domain

To be human is to grow in more than physical terms. We can evolve in our emotions, reasoning, purpose, and values. Even though two people may disagree on what these evolved qualities amount to—Buddhist compassion isn't the same as Christian redemption, for example—all sides can agree that living by a higher vision gives life more meaning. The enemy of spiritual evolution is constricted awareness, where you cannot feel it possible to do more than survive, feel safe, and take care of the basic needs of yourself and your family. Evolving on the inside needs focused attention and awareness to expand beyond such basic needs.

3. Evolution is Achieved through Expanded Awareness

To consciously evolve, you must be conscious. This would appear to be true in Nature itself when we consider the possibility that we live in a conscious universe. A conscious universe is founded on the field of pure awareness, and when we meditate, we contact the same source within ourselves.

Through regular meditation practice, awareness expands, and then we can draw upon Nature to support us in our desires and intentions. When the ancient rishis declared Aham Brahmasmi—"I am the universe"—they were pointing to the cosmic connection that exists in everyone at the level of pure consciousness. Simply by absorbing the influence of pure consciousness, which occurs in every meditation, we also absorb the qualities that it contains, such as truth, beauty, love, intelligence, and creativity.

In these ways the simple fact of living in Nature supports our evolution. When you walk in the woods breathing in silence, when you stand in wonder at majestic mountain ranges, or when you feel bathed in the beauty of a sunset, you are merging with Nature at the level of expanded awareness. These experiences are cherishable, but even more precious is to evolve as a child of the universe, knowing that you fit into the cosmic scheme and therefore are infinitely valued.

Connect with nature to stay grounded and centered with Journey to Well-being: Environment, a four-part series with Kimberly Snyder, available now in the Chopra App.