The Restorative Power of Nature

Alison JamesArticles

The sun shining upon your face, the wind blowing through your hair, the ocean lapping at your ankles and the earth beneath your feet; these are elements of nature we know so well that bring us energy, a refreshing, cleansing and grounding.  Mother Earth’s bounty provides life sustenance for humanity to thrive and we are dependent on her extraordinary abundance. Without the rain replenishing our lakes, rivers and water supplies, without the photosynthesis of the trees and plants providing oxygen for us to breathe, and without the foods that flourish in the earth, we could not survive.  Our blue planet is provided as part of the Divine Plan for humanity. We, however, are responsible for what we leave behind us for the next generation. We were seeded from the stars as bringers of life, not to be destroyers.

Indigenous people, shamans, healers, animals and all lovers of nature understand the benefits derived from energies received when in Mother Nature.  Sitting around a campfire, leaning one’s spine against a tree or star-gazing at night are activities that link us with the annals of time and our ancestors. Our predecessors from ancient times lived close to the land.  While we are now blessed to enjoy life on Mother Earth, we must establish a relationship with her that is symbiotic, not depredatory.

So many of the avatars and enlightened souls who have graced our planet have spent time, years in some cases, communing in nature, living close to and off the land. Lord Merlin preferred the solace of the forest to society’s comforts, Lord Buddha realized “the Middle Way” as a result of his meditations in nature and Jesus in his humanness endured forty days and forty nights in the desert to embrace Truth. Connecting to Nature returns us to our essence. Whatever challenges we may be facing, it is important for us to “come to earth” and to feel the life force that pulses in and around us.

Most importantly, we must remember to breathe in deeply the air that makes us “living souls”.  The breath brings not only oxygen to every cell of our being, but also All There Is, i.e. the life force of our bodies and the presence of the Divine that is within and without. When the complexities and demands of daily living in a man-made world of steel, mortar, computers and telephones become overwhelming, time spent in Nature will reconnect you to the elements and their healing power.

When visiting the Maya pyramidal site of Ek Balam in the Yucatan, Mexico, in 2008, there was a particular stretch of grass that I laid upon between two ruined buildings. Never before had I felt the pulse of Mother Earth as I felt that day. So clearly do I recall it. My energies merged into Mother Earth’s her deep embrace and I sank deep, out of time. It was as if she claimed me as her own, infusing and charging my being, encompassing me like the root of a tree. It was while still in that state of connectedness that I experienced a glimpse into another life-time.  Mother Earth herself holds energies and memories of other times of existence.

The Celts and Druids of the British Isles were particularly in tune with Nature.  They held a strong connection to and reverence for trees which we have largely lost. The depletion of our forests is posing serious issues on a global scale. If we had retained this awareness, perhaps this would not be the case. It is up to us to reverse our disregard for Nature and find her wonder again. The idea of connecting to the spirit of a tree is not readily accepted today, rather it is often considered “weird”. Nonetheless, I include here an ancient poem from Ireland, The Song of Amergin, (John Carey’s translation) the leader of an invading force of Ireland who invoked the powers of the land and the elements, becoming them and then claimed sovereignty over the land:

I am a wind in the sea (for depth)
I am a sea-wave upon the land (for heaviness)
I am the sound of the sea (for fearsomeness)
I am a stag of seven combats (for strength)
I am a hawk upon a cliff (for agility)
I am a tear-drop of the sun (for purity)
I am fair (i.e. there is no plant fairer than I)
I am a boar for valour (for harshness)
I am a salmon in a pool (for swiftness)
I am a lake in a plain (for size)
I am the excellence of arts (for beauty)
I am a spear that wages battle with plunder.
I am a god who forms subjects for a ruler
Who explains the stones of the mountains?
Who invokes the ages of the moon?
Where lies the setting of the sun?
Who bears cattle from the house of Tethra?
Who are the cattle of Tethra who laugh?
What man, what god forms weapons?
Indeed, then;
I invoked a satirist…

Our modern lives have become so far removed from this relating to Mother Earth. Urban life, modern technology and our man-made interests have changed our agrarian perspective to one of self gratification and dissociation with Nature.  While we are awakening to our collective responsibility for the burgeoning problems of maintaining ourselves and the planet, I suggest it is time to smell the roses again – and I do mean the roses in the garden – and to connect with the natural world.  The other night I sat listening in the darkness to a bullfrog’s mating call and the crickets’ chatter. How pleasing it is to know that rhythms and cycles of life continue in our world without human interference.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:

 He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

~ Psalm 23:1-3