Why Spend Time in Nature?

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. – John Muir

Every culture on earth has nature based rituals from vision quests to pilgrimages to walkabouts to retreats that allow access to our deeper Self or the essence of who we are. The great mystics and sages throughout time all sought a connection to nature to deepen their own sense of the Divine. For Jesus it was forty day and nights in the wilderness, for Moses a conversation with the Burning Bush, for Buddha is was sitting under a fig tree, the Bodhi tree and for Mohammad a cave in the mountains that lead to revelations. Ancient Chinese mysticism is full of references to nature.

Some years ago, an Alaskan fisherman friend of mine, a man who lived and worked on the sea in sight of magnificent mountains and glaciers, surprised me by saying, “you know I think it’s impossible to spend a lot of time in nature without believing in something greater than yourself”. I too have spent much of my life close to the natural world so knew immediately what he was talking about. We naturally get a sense of the Oneness of all things when we develop a relationship with nature. We feel connected to the larger world, which to me has always felt like both a great comfort and a great gift.

When we spend time in Nature we begin to vibrate at the same frequency as the Earth which produces an alpha state in our brain. It’s a relaxed, calm, meditative state where we are more receptive to the larger energetic field of universal wisdom and we can experience ah…ha moments, flashes of inspiration and reach mind/body/spirit integration. Alpha waves are also associated with people’s ability to heal themselves and increased creativity. Places with high levels of negative ions like the ocean or waterfalls or flowing rivers and creeks or walking in the rain or fog especially promote alpha brain waves.

We don’t need to go into the wilderness to experience the benefits. Sitting in the garden or a walk in the park will do. Studies published in mainstream medical journals that suggest that nature of any kind makes people feel better and can minimize the effects of disease.

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