Connecting Soul and Nature (1)

green thingsLately I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking about the connection between Soul and Nature. It seems to me that the further we as human beings get from our connection to the natural world and Mother Earth, so bigger the problems in the natural world turn out to be. Or maybe it’s the other way around: more catastrophes = more distance? Maybe it’s a vicious circle and at this point what started it is a question similar to that of the chicken or the egg. Either way, there isn’t much we can do about the catastrophes on an individual bases; but we can reforge our connection to nature.

But before I go there, you may wonder “Why would it be important for us to connect to nature?”
Well, there are a few possible answers to that:

Firstly, we are on a very physical level unquestionably part of the natural world. Our bodies need food, water, warmth, air, and light to strive and grow. And if that food, water, warmth, air, and light is polluted or even poisoned, our bodies react to that: they get sick and die.  Many studies1 now show that some of the most prevalent illnesses are directly linked to the food we eat; and increasingly people take to healthier diet and clean food and water to heal their bodies. So, connecting to nature and learning about how to keep it (or get it again to be) clean is on a very basic level a question of survival.

Then there is the impact nature has on our emotional and mental balance. Again, studies2 have shown that simply being outdoors, independent of the kind of activity done, positively influence mental and emotional health.

And lastly there is the spiritual connection that we can experience when we are consciously out in nature. Observing life around us — plants, animals, weather patterns, etc. — makes us aware of a larger whole that we are part of. When we see and understand the patterns of nature, we can more easily see and understand our own. And when we truly grasp how everything in nature depends on everything else, how every little bug and bud has its place in the greater whole, we can understand our own place in the whole of life a little bit better.

Those are just the reasons that are benefitting us. There are also the many reasons that would benefit those around us.

If being in nature makes me healthier, that means that there is a bigger chance of me living a healthy and long life, that my family and friends won’t have to look after me, that the state won’t have to pay for my health care. Of course there is no guarantee for that — but there rarely is a guarantee for anything in life, is there.

If being in nature makes me feel emotionally and mentally more balanced, this decreases the likelihood of me suffering from mental or emotional illness. It also makes it less likely that I “lose it” on my partner or my children. It makes it more likely that I’m happy and productive at work — and I may even be more creative and supportive of others because I feel emotionally balanced and happy.

If being in nature makes me feel more connected to the greater reality of life, it becomes more likely that I treat others with respect and more understanding, that I try a little harder to understand how someone or something may fit into the whole of a situation. It also makes it more likely that I take responsibility for doing my part in keeping my family, my community, my society working well. And it makes it much more likely that I treat Mother Earth with more respect, starting with taking my trash back out of the woods after a picnic and going all the way to considering how I can reduce waster production and pollution in my home. And that in return means that I leave a little bit less of a mess for the next generation to deal with.

Next time: How to (re)connect with nature?