August 23     

Today's quotation:

Humanity’s attempts to override nature have separated us from our source and destroyed what can save us.  A camera can point to the glory of a pristine forest, but cannot create it.  No smartphone is smart enough to spin a planet into orbit. God speaks to us daily, but we rarely take the time to listen.  Nature is my church.  When I walk in nature I know the Tao.  No building, altar, or ritual is necessary.  Human beings have created magnificent, awe-inspiring cathedrals, but none can surpass the wonder of a starry night.

Alan Cohen
The Tao Made Easy

Today's Meditation:

When we get caught up in our daily lives and jobs and families and tasks, it's very easy to lose track of our connection with nature, and not to notice that we've broken that connection by focusing so much on everything that has nothing to do with nature.  And this is a shame because our connection with the natural world can add a great deal to our lives in very positive ways, if we only make the effort to maintain that connection as well as we can.

It's very easy to consider the things that human beings have made to be extremely important.  We travel in our cars and we work in our buildings and we live in our houses and we shop in malls and strip malls.  For many of us, nature is no more than an afterthought, something that we reserve for the weekends-- perhaps a nice Saturday walk in the woods, but really no more than that.  And when we minimize our contact with nature, we minimize the positive effects that we gain by making nature a part of who we are, and vice-versa.

There are plenty of studies that tell us some of the important effects that nature can have on us:  lower stress levels, lower blood pressure, greater feelings of well-being, quicker healing from injuries and illnesses-- the list of physical and emotional benefits is very long, and you can read any of numerous articles on the benefits of nature on our health simply by typing "benefits of nature" into any search engine.  The question is, do we get any advantage from nature if we don't actively maintain our relationship with it?

Of course, you don't need to go camping for three weeks in a wilderness areas full of grizzly bears, eating only the berries that you find there, to get the benefits of our connections with nature.  You can feel those benefits by finding natural areas near you-- even simple parks with plenty of trees-- and spending time there.  Connections need to be maintained, and our connection with nature is one that's easy to neglect if we don't make a serious effort to keep it up.

Questions to consider:

In what ways can nature benefit you?

Why do so many people neglect their connection with the natural world?

Why have we allowed so many natural areas to be destroyed in order to make more money for a very few people?

For further thought:

Is it the right of our generation, in its selfish materialism, to destroy nature because we are blinded by the dollar sign?  Beauty--and all the values that derive from beauty--are not measured and evaluated in terms of the dollar.

Rachel Carson

more on nature



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