“Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.” – Rachel Carson
Many cultures have not only a tremendous link to the natural world and their environment but also have nature or animal spirit guides at the heart of their spiritual beliefs. A native vision quest often involves meeting your animal spirit guide. There are meditations we can do to connect with our animal spirit guide that don’t involve journeying into the wilderness without food for a few days – relatively easy if you live in the Amazon rainforest but much more daunting if you live in Clapham!
There are other ways we can all benefit from a connection with nature however that can inspire our souls and remind us that all living things on this planet are part of the same collective whole that we belong to. Even if you live and work in a city you can eat your lunch in a park or green space rather than in a coffee shop or at your desk. Try taking a deep breath, closing your eyes and tuning out the sounds of the city for a moment. As you breathe imagine your skin dissolving and you becoming one with the trees, grass and even the air around you. Over time you will find this increases not only your sense of wellbeing, lowering your stress levels, but it will also give you an increased awareness that we are all in fact, one with nature – even if the jungle we live in is a concrete one.
If you’re not lucky enough to live in a rural location, try to get out of the city and spend some time in nature at the weekend. Go somewhere where you can walk along a beach or a country footpath. When we feel a harmonious connection with the environment we are in, this is a reflection of the current state of our souls.
As more and more of the human population moves into cities, many of us are forgetting just how much a part of the Earth we really are. Food is something we buy in supermarkets or from takeaways – there is no connection between it and growing crops or animals in fields. Spiritually and physically we can become like flat batteries. Researchers have discovered that children who are allowed time for unstructured play in a green, safe environment such as a garden or park, play more creatively, have better imaginations, are fitter and leaner, have lower stress levels, better immune systems, experience fewer symptoms of ADD and ADHA and have a greater respect for themselves, others and their environment.
Maintaining our spiritual connection with the natural world is becoming more and more important – it not only benefits us but also the planet. As Tom Joad said in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath: “Maybe we’re not all individual souls, but maybe we’re all part of one big soul.” If we feel we are a part of nature rather than apart from it, then the environment is us – making us more aware of issues such as climate change, de-forestation, ocean trawling and factory farming and how they affect all of us.
When we expose ourselves to the tranquillity and peace that resides in nature, we are able to access the part of our souls that is wild, free, and pure. Connecting to the environment will nourish your spirit, revitalize your soul, and ‘green’ your entire being.
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