I have always been fascinated with nature. Since a little girl I love to go for long walks in the woods where the only thing I hear are the sounds of the birds and the wind whistling through the branches of the trees.
This peace that I feel in nature has always been something that draws me to it. It is like a soothing balm that quiets the mind and caresses the spirit.
But ever since I moved to the big city my trips to nature have diminished to the point where I forgot what it is to feel the cool breeze from the trees caressing my cheeks.
This is when I noticed the constant stream of thoughts getting its grip on me. It’s like with every walk down the street, with the cars passing and a crowd of people around me they get louder and louder, as if to quiet the buzz of the city.
Then I slowly felt my interests change, my values change and the whole way of seeing the world started being driven by the superficial standards of the city.
One cannot live like this – I thought to myself. And I went to seek a change, to find my way back to the authentic life, the life in nature, the quiet of the countryside, the company of real, living beings and creatures – the sparrow that sings somewhere between the branches of the tree, the rabbit that carefully tries not to be seen, the cat that is having a lazy strow on the sidewalk – a feeling more real than any city can be.
Nature is a great teacher, a therapist, a healer, a shaman, a guru, whatever you name it- nature is a master that speaks in a silent way for the ripe student to understand. And the sooner we find our way back to it, the better it is for our own sake.
Nowadays humanity faces a lot of challenges – greed for money and success, a rise of consumerism, pollution, mindless exploitation of the resources of the planet, not to mention anxiety, depression and alienation from our own Self.
All this due to our huge step away from nature and from what is natural.
If we want to find happiness and peace and help the world to heal from the damage we are causing it, we need to remember and go back to what is real.
We might be experiencing a turmoil at this point in time, but it can be also a wake up call, because life is giving us what we have been giving to it. The further away we are from ourselves, the louder the alarm of the clock.
So, what can we do to make a change?
Just go back to yourself. But I don’t mean back to your plans, visions, goals, desires. I mean back to the innocence and silence that is inside you. And that is where nature can be of great help.
Whenever I go out of the city it is like there is this alive silence that is vibrating in the air. The quiet streets with just a dog’s bark from the house up the hill, the sense that time has stopped and there is just this timeless moment here and the peace that is soothing my being … that is the therapy we all need.
A human being needs to turn to the silence within in order to rest and rejuvenate. We often forget, especially if we live in the city. We might think a trendy yoga class will give us peace but are we really going there to find ourselves or more because it’s hip?
Let me not try to convince you more but give you some ideas, a few suggestions. Actually let’s start with just 3 super simple things you can start doing right now to reclaim your inner peace and oneness with all-that-is.
1. Go for a walk in nature.
Obviously, the simplest thing you can do is to just go and have a walk in nature. I have seen many people do it the wrong way though. They bring a friend, for example, and chat about whatever they can think of, just to avoid the silence, which is not the point of it at all. Of course, having human contact is a beautiful thing, but we can have it anywhere.
You need to treat your walk like entering a temple, because nature is indeed a temple – a living, breathing temple. When you approach it with awe you will see its beauty, its sacredness, its wisdom. That is what you go there for – to honor it and offer yourself up to it, so that it removes your thoughts and purifies your being.
This is a meditation.
There was a place near my house where there were beautiful woods and usually there is not a soul there during the week, but when the weekend comes it is pretty full of people. It turns to something like a market place.
I have seen all sorts of people there – from chatting on their phone, making selfies, leading a heated conversation to even watching the latest news while they walk.
Do you think they are having the real benefit from a walk in nature?
So when I mean to go in nature I mean just you – no friends, no phone, and yes I know you might be so tempted to take a picture of this beautiful tree, or you see a deer and want to make a video for your IG following, but no, not this time. Make this walk just for you, you and only you.
How often do we spend time just with ourselves? There is always someone messaging us on our smartphone or we are tempted to see the notifications about what’s new on social media.
Do we really spend any time alone at all?
I can only imagine how our great grandparents used to spend their time in the evenings – with no electricity, only a small candle light. They must have been much more balanced than we are, because they would have had time to be quiet with themselves, without distractions.
I highly doubt most of us today, especially those living in the city, could spend their evenings like this. The itch to check your phone or call your friend, or look what’s new on Netflix is often stronger than our wish to meditate.
But the sweetness of what you can discover if you make a little effort to overcome this habit is so great that it is worth to miss what your friends have posted on facebook.
Give it a try one time and take a walk naked. Don’t worry, I don’t mean naked without clothes, but without thoughts, without distractions – just you and you alone.
2. Learn from an animal
I feel so much love when I spend time with animals. When I caress my cat and feel how sweet it is purring in my lap, when I take my dog for a walk and see the joy with which it is running in the fields, or when I hug a horse and see that deep intelligence and innocence in its eyes, it just moves me. It inspires me, to be better, to be more loving, to be more authentic, to be the self that nature has created me to be.
Animals are so unpretentious, so real and authentic, so free in their expression and at peace with who they are.
I believe there is so much to learn from them – to learn how to be natural and happy, how to be ourselves in the way nature intended us to be. We can even learn how to be human, discover that loving and caring side of us that wants to just give without expecting nothing back.
If you want to get a little bit more in touch with yourself go look at an animal – see how it moves, how it acts, how spontaneous and real it is. It is not trying to impress or to come across as pretty or successful, or smart. It is just as it is – just happy to be. It doesn’t have doubts about its worth, its beauty, its looks. And it is in perfect flow and harmony with the universe. That feeling is so sweet, so fulfilling.
In fact, we think that we will find fulfillment when we create ourselves in a certain way or achieve a specific thing, but there is no greater fulfillment than to discover your oneness and harmony with life, with nature, with all living beings. It is just the sweetest thing. It is love, pure and unconditional.
So, look for a teacher – your dog, your neighbor’s cat or a horse, could be any animal at all. Go and spend time with it, learn from it. I am sure it can teach you how to be. And the bonus is that there is no tuition fee.
3. Get your hands dirty
Today we do most of our work on computers. We don’t have to do much physical activity to get things done and earn our living. Mostly we rely on our minds and thinking. This way we spend most of our time in the domain of our minds and kind of forget the connection to our bodies, to doing things the old-fashioned way.
Our grandparents used to spend most of their work hours outside – working in the fields, in the garden, planting things, getting their hands dirty, moving their bodies, feeling the nature, honoring and working hand in hand with the earth, relying on their harmony with the planet for their survivor and living.
Today it is easy – we go to the supermarket and find whatever our heart desires. If you want a salad or a tomato you just go and buy one, you don’t have to select and plant it, water it daily and wait for it to grow before you eat it. We have become kind of lazy and impatient in that respect. We want everything ready and done. We don’t even need to cook – just grab a takeaway and no sweat needed. That way we have more time to spend using our minds to think and to entertain ourselves.
But we don’t realize that doing so we are moving further away from ourselves and worse – we forget to appreciate things. That’s why we get bored easily, because we can get everything fast and easy and it doesn’t need our dedication, patience and care. We can get whatever we want at any time we want it.
This is deteriorating for our values and our qualities as human beings. Due to this we don’t value anymore things that don’t come easily – we don’t fight for our relationships and friendships, we don’t appreciate the small things. So many people suffer from the lack of meaningful relationships. The reason for it is the same – we are looking for instant gratification, just like if we want a tomato we go and get one, we don’t plant and water it, when we want a partner we expect them to fall in our feet instantly and other than that is too much work to bother.
If we don’t reverse this, we will lose all meaning in our lives and it will get progressively difficult for us to be satisfied and find any fulfillment and happiness.
I advise you not to fall in that trap because it is not easy to get out of it. Start reversing this habit of seeking everything easy and already done for you. Try to do those things that you have taken for granted yourself.
You can easily take up a gardening hobby for example – it will bring you closer to nature and to yourself. Try planting a tomato and eat it instead of buying one. Start cooking instead of eating out or ordering food online. Doing the things you used to take for granted yourself is indeed a healing. It gives a satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment and worth.
Be creative and take up some hobby that requires you to get your hands dirty and do things the old-fashioned way. You might be surprised how fulfilling it can be.
Whatever of the 3 advices you take it is a step in a good direction – the direction to be authentic and real, to reconnect with yourself and become whole again, to appreciate life and nature and learn to be more loving and kind, more generous and balanced. It is something we need at this point in time. We need human beings to remember what it means to be a human being. A human being is an embodiment of beauty, peace and love.
A human being can either ruin this planet or nurture it and heal it. It is up to each one of us what kind of human beings we choose to be and how we will contribute to the future of our planet.