#4 Nature – Lessons Learned While Cleansing The Spirit

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” — John Muir

When I’m in around nature, I become centered. The rat race temporarily vanishes. Each moment spent amongst the trees has a big lesson behind it. In nature’s silence, I’m able to hear a tune that only the heart can decipher.

Everything is part of nature. Even the cities with all of the human innovation are part of nature. However, for this article, I am looking at nature in its originality. 

Mother nature selflessly takes everybody in, excludes no one, and keeps on giving.

Take a tree for example. A tree gives shade to all that grace its presence and not once does it ask for acknowledgment of any kind.

You might be asking yourself, well of course it can’t, it’s just a tree! Did you know that trees have stress? They can develop tumors, and go through hardships just like us. Nature experiences pain as we do.

When I’m around nature, I am able to center myself, subdue the chattering mind and build compassion for myself and extend compassion to others.

What if we gave without acknowledgment, without concern, or without a thank you? What if people gave for the sake of giving?

“Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth you owe me, imagine what a love like that can do; it can light up the whole sky.” — Hafez

Lessons From Nature

It’s a Form of Meditation

I strongly urge you to leave your cell phone in your car, at home, or completely turned off when in nature. Give yourself the time to be present. 

Breathe the oxygen-rich air that nature gives effortlessly. Enjoy on the trees, hills, rocks, and every little insect you encounter. Be fully engaged and you’ll find yourself encapsulated to a degree you never thought possible. 

Enjoy and respect the time you are giving yourself to be present in all the beauty around you. I have cried in the presence of nature many times. I am not sure what brought on the tears and at the same time grateful for the ability to feel something that’s beyond myself.

You’ll become more creative

Most, if not all my ideas and inspiration come from nature. When I am in its presence, I lose myself and find creativity in unexpected hours. A simple hike, even in your local park can help ease and quiet our busy minds. When you remove all the junk that clutters your mind, you have room for clarity, and that is creativity can come alive and thrive. 

You Build Compassion

Compassion is defined as the concern for the misfortunes of others. When you are in nature you start to see how everything in it operates in total harmony. 

The birds, trees, and insects are all working together. It’s a community that is interdependent. Every part of nature is just as important as the next. The trees give shade, shelter, and food. When animals die, they decay and give nutrients that give rise to more trees, and so on. 

We need each other as nature does. We are all on a lone journey. This journey comes with suffering. Compassion is what is needed more in this world.

Your View of the World Broadens

It’s easy to get stuck in our little problems, our careers, our ambitions, and everything that happens in and around the people that are close to us. Nature helps you understand that there is a bigger world out there and that our problems aren’t as big as we once thought they were. When you see the diversity in nature, you can see the diversity in the world.

You Listen Better

Have you ever talked to someone and midway through the conversation, something struck a chord with you, and instead of listening to that person, you’ve already formulated a response? 

I used to do this all the time. Since spending time in nature’s silence, I have learned to listen. It takes me at least 10–15 seconds before I respond to the person I am talking to. If you really want to take in nature, make sure to listen to the sounds. Listen to the birds chirping, the grasshoppers cricketing, and the waves of the ocean thrashing. 

When you start to listen to these sounds, it starts to permeate your life on every spectrum. I listen a lot more than I talk these days, it’s probably why I write so much.

You become humble 

When I visit Muir Woods, I often gaze at the tall redwood trees and am humbled. When you look at a seed that is no bigger than the smallest microchip, grow into something the size of a redwood tree, you just can’t help but be in awe. 

If you have ever been through a tornado, earthquake, or hurricane, then you know what nature is capable of. In the vast cosmos, we are nothing but a mound of dust. 

You sleep better

Nature’s beauty gives less time for bad thoughts. The more time you spend in nature, the more these thoughts subside, and the more relaxed you become. In a world where information is constantly jammed into our brains, we tend to forget what it’s like to have a clear mind. When you go on nature walks, you are transfixed by beauty. Soon the busy mind is laid to rest, helping you sleep better. I guarantee that we can all use more sleep.

You love better

Whether it’s your family, friends, strangers, or a significant other, you start to love better. If you are fully present and aware in nature, meaning that you are simply paying attention to everything in front of you, without headphones or mindless chatter, you really start to appreciate everything more. You become grateful that you are able to see what is in front of you and in my experience, this has made me treat the ones around me better. I see everything and everyone as a miracle. Having people that care about you is a miracle, being able to laugh and love is a miracle, and everything is a miracle!

You May Start to Eat Healthier 

Through my travels, I’ve encountered mountaineers, hikers, and rock climbers. These people look great, but also eat healthy as well. Nature brings about an appreciation of your surroundings. You feel connected to your environment. You start to unconsciously understand that you are a part of nature, and when this happens, the need for processed foods that you are accustomed to may essens substantially. 

I love eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and pastured meats because I know its closest to nature, closest to their source, and not processed and re-processed. My body has undergone great changes, but it fails in comparison to the changes that my mind has gone through.

You become happier

Being happy is a byproduct of being grateful. It’s just as simple as that. Nature is beautiful because it never wants, never fights, and never resists. If a tree dies, the flowers still bloom, and the other trees don’t whimper for they know that the dying tree will come back in a different form. 

Nature understands the need to let go of the false notion of control. Nature thrives because it’s simply grateful for being alive. If we transcend this type of thinking into our daily lives it will do wonders. Check out what Harvard Medical School had to say about gratitude. It’s a great read and provides validation and insight from some of the brilliant minds in our world. Be grateful for all that you have and make it a practice to reap its benefits.

I never thought that nature would have such a profound impact on me and I believe if you spend more time in it, you will see yourself evolving for the better. Give yourself a chance to free your mind, find meaning, find the love of self, and find everlasting peace. 

You will begin to transmit, transform, and penetrate a type of life-giving light that brightens the hearts and souls of those around you, while unconsciously giving others permission to do the same.

“I believe there is a subtle magnetism in nature, which, if we unconscionably yield to it, will direct us alright” -Henry David Thoreau

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With love,
Anand Swamy

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