Nature offers the greatest well of spiritual energy we can experience. I like to label nature my temple because of the spiritual refreshment it provides. In fact, spending time in nature is the best means of fostering feelings of well-being, whether as a seeker of higher awareness or a general connoisseur of good health.
Science has also found this to be the case with study-after-study indicating being in nature improves our well being (see the various references at the bottom of this article)
To reconnect with nature, you need to get closer to nature. Thus you’ll need to find pockets of nature in the city in which you dwell.
The best place to start is to look for trails and parks within the city. Check maps and do internet searches to find parks and trails—you might be surprised how many you find. If none exist in the city, look for some just outside the city or start a project within your city to clean up an area or start a park.
Even if you can’t find any parks near your house, seek out trees that line city streets. Spend time examining their forms and interrelationships since they possess most of nature’s wisdoms. All trees possess the qualities of fractals, symmetry, and returning to the source so let their wisdom educate and enthrall.
Because so many great artists derived their inspiration from nature, go to art museums as well. Seeing great artists express their awe of nature is also uplifting and another means to build an appreciation of nature.
Man’s creations of stores, buildings, roads and institutions reflect nature’s patterns. Studying how things are city structures are organized provides an interesting insight into man’s world, but also a nice reminder how closely we are connected with nature. To jumpstart your appreciation of this, check out my book Encyclopedia Centerpath.
- In his book, Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, Dacher Keltner (New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2009) outlines deeply rooted portions of our mind are hard-wired to take note of and reward us (via the release of good feeling mental ‘drugs’) when we spend time in nature
- In a series of studies published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology, Richard Ryan (professor of psychology at the University of Rochester) shows that people on wilderness excursions report feeling more alive and that just recalling outdoor experiences increases feelings of happiness and health. Other studies suggest that the very presence of nature helps to ward off feelings of exhaustion and that 90 percent of people report increased energy when placed in outdoor activities. For more details see: http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3639
- Researchers in Japan have shown the tradition called shinri-yoku, or “forest bathing” have discovered forest bathing optimizes natural immunity, which is important to prevent cancer as well as other chronic illnesses. See http://www.naturalblaze.com/2015/03/sthash.hZMQ5SiT.dpuf) for more details.
Besides all the great scientific research, I personally like to believe the best source of research comes from listening to one’s heart. When walking in nature, we all know it makes us feel better. We become calmer, uplifted, and life’s challenges tend to become clearer. Our heart knows immersing one’s self in nature is beneficial and the hearts always right.