Nature: The Ultimate Reflection

I didn’t realise how important green space was for health until I spent time in a city with limited access to the natural elements. When I made my way to the river and botanical gardens, I felt a noticeable shift in the way I was feeling. I let go of the tension I was holding in my body and felt a deep appreciation of the beauty of the natural world.

So what is the powerful quality of nature all about? What is it about nature that allows us to feel content and reconnected to ourselves?

Research confirms the healing quality of nature. It reveals that the natural environment can reduce stress, which in turn impacts on our body. It can change our mood, but also affect our nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. Alternatively, being disconnected from the harmony of nature can make us feel anxious, sad and helpless, which can elevate our blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and suppress our immune system [1].

The physician, Robert Ulrich, conducted a study on patients who had undergone surgery. One group was provided with a view of trees and the other group a concrete wall. The group with access to nature healed faster and appeared to nurses to have fewer negative effects, spending less time in hospital [1].

Time spent in nature also connects us to each other and the larger world and this in itself has healing properties. When I go for a walk, I will often meet people along the way and we will exchange a hello. During the day, say, when I am at the supermarket or going about my daily tasks, I notice there is often little connection between people at all. Being in nature seems to support us to be more willing to connect openly with each other, perhaps because we have connected more intimately with ourselves. We can let go of drive and busy-ness, the need to get things done, and we may begin to let people in and make relationships a priority.

Indeed, nature does offer us the chance to relieve ourselves from the tension we feel as a result of how we live our days, but are we failing to bring our awareness to the fact that nature serves a purpose that is so much more? Through its reflections, nature offers the blueprint to all of life, and for humanity to learn to live more harmoniously together.

Research in a Chicago public housing estate with trees and green space around the built environment reported that these residents know more people, have stronger feelings of unity with neighbours, more concern for helping and supporting each other, and stronger feelings of belonging than did tenants in other built environments where the buildings were without trees. In addition, there was reduced risk of street crime, lower levels of violence and aggression between domestic partners and an enhanced capacity to cope with life’s demands [1].

Scientists have reviewed the effects of nature on our brain. When participants of a particular study viewed nature scenes, the parts of the brain associated with empathy and love illuminated, but when they viewed urban scenes, the parts of the brain associated with fear and anxiety activated [1]. Our body is so sensitive it is constantly providing information about how we feel about our environment. How amazing!

Lately I have been reading about biomimicry. In this Science, engineers, architects, entrepreneurs, biologists etc. look to nature for answers. Nature has a successful history of survival, regeneration, dealing with waste, using only what is needed, and working together within systems, and so it has much to share about achieving balance and harmony. Nature may very well be our expert, far superior and more refined than anything we have achieved thus far as human beings. For instance, to find out how to pump water to the top of a skyscraper, an engineer using biomimicry may look to the detail of trees, or when designing a helicopter, may study the hummingbird, or even the flipper of a whale to perfect a wind turbine blade [2].

So when the world was made, perhaps it wasn’t by chance that nature was a part of its design. Perhaps it was all part of a grand plan to support us in our lives.

There is also so much in nature that shows us how communities work effectively together. We can see this by observing the ways of the Emperor Penguin, which reflect absolute brotherhood. Their survival relies on each other, and on working as a community, in order to survive the harsh winters. The Meerkats also show us that many families can live together and support each other, as well as the importance of always being aware of what is happening in the surrounding environment. Ants, such a tiny species, work steadily together with such dedication and achieve mighty things, like being able to carry supplies weighing far more than themselves back to their nests… and please, let us not forget the gorgeousness of our bees.

If nature was designed by God, then it was the most loving blueprint we could have been offered to help us to learn to live in a more loving way. And the message is clear – nature is asking us to learn to live on the planet as One and to move away from a life about Self.

What do we learn from all of the reflections in nature?

Our world is an amazing place, here to support us to live with more harmony. Connecting to nature in this way provides the opportunity to look at the world through a different lens, allowing us to feel its constant reflections and to remember we are part of a sphere that is ultimately much bigger than us.

Nature is a gift from the Divine, the most precious gift of all, and it was given to Us as the ultimate support.

By Maree Savins, AssocDegLaw (Paralegal), GradCert HROD, Australia

References:

  1. http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing 
  2. https://biomimicry.org

Related Reading:
By Connecting to our Natural Rhythms we Improve our Well-being
A True Relationship with Nature
A Walk in the Park

746 thoughts on “Nature: The Ultimate Reflection

  1. “Our body is so sensitive it is constantly providing information about how we feel about our environment.” And the natural environment around us is equally sensitive to how we move in and with it.

  2. Nature so beautifully reminds us that we too are made of the same particles that respond to the natural cycles and order in life.

  3. If we used nature to support our grand divineness, the most prolific use needs to be looked at, felt and renounced. This is the overwhelming reality that many use nature to check out and escape from the life they live, knowing that life is not the grandness they know themselves to be. So to open to the true reflection of nature is to take responsibility for ones life and choices, beginning to again make the choice to allow what is known to be true, to be lived.

  4. I have recently been away and was able to walk for miles on a sandy beach every day. There was such a feeling of space and the rhythmic sound of the ebb and flow of the waves seemed to support my movements and keep my mind from wandering. I used to visit the sea a lot, often as a form of escape but now I feel to re establish a relationship with the coastline near where I live in a different way. I am committing to go there once a month for a long walk either on my own or with a friend and see how it is for me this time around. I feel that with a greater sense of purpose and a deeper connection with myself these walks will also feel very different.

  5. I can see in the development of our villages and cities that there is a battle between nature and the need to build more houses, roads and buildings for commercial activities. It looks like it is either the one or the other and that there is no choice to have a natural mix of the two, the mix that would be beneficial for all the people that have to live and work in these cities.

  6. We all know from an inner knowing that nature is of benefit to us as we en mass, move to nature when we have holidays. But if we all know this fact from own experience, why then do we allow our cities to become such a concrete place where the connection with nature is so hard to find?

  7. I think in nature we can often allow ourselves to be more settled in the present moment and be more aware of our body in the sense of letting go of excess tension and opening ourselves up more. It’s great to recognise this and also to see how we don’t have to be in nature to give ourselves that kind of opportunity.

  8. When I walk in nature it gives me space not only to connect to myself but to be far more aware of what nature offers us by way of reflection, if there is ever anything I need help with nature offers me the answer.

  9. When I feel the ease with which a whale propels themselves through the water with their tails, I too am in awe of how beautifully we are designed to be and move through life aligned to nature’s order and harmony.

  10. “Being in nature seems to support us to be more willing to connect openly with each other, perhaps because we have connected more intimately with ourselves” – so true Maree, when we feel the all, and the oneness that Nature is providing us…I find we are more open to feeling that too in a person we meet whilst we’re in that mutual appreciation of our natural world. Nature really sets and confirms the scene for harmony.

    1. Sure Zofia, nature gives us that other reflection we do miss so much in our cities consisting of concrete buildings and asphalt roads.

  11. Connecting with nature for me, really does support my body and my wellbeing. Living in cities and towns most of my life, I always enjoyed having mature trees lining the streets and there is nothing better than having one right outside the window!

  12. For some time, I had my computer desk in a room where the view directly in front of me was a wall and I didn’t realise for a while that looking at this wall was making me feel tense and confined. When I finally moved my computer to a desk in front of a window looking out over a peaceful rural vista the difference was amazing. I now take regular stop moments to look up and out and I can instantly feel the healing power of the beautiful reflection of nature.

  13. Feeling a little ‘out of sorts’ last night, I went out to walk and simply enjoy being with my clumpy feeling movement, under the canopy of bright stars that were covering the deep-indigo night sky. There was a frost already beginning to form on the grass verges and cars and a slight hint of a breeze rustling the branches of the trees. My whole being felt re-vitalised and restored to harmony during the night walk with nature.

  14. If we feel more settled in ourselves among nature, then it gives us a marker for how we can be and what is within us to reconnect with at any time.

  15. Yes I agree with this, nature is very healing. It is a shame as a collective we do not appreciate and respect it as much as we could. I love nature and while reading this I felt I have not appreciated nature for a while but then reflected that moments in my day either walking or driving I will notice a tree and take a moment to appreciate it. I feel nature supports us in re-connecting to our stillness and true essence.

  16. I too have observed the difference in the quality of connection between people walking down the street or in the shopping malls and those out walking in nature. I have been walking around the local park lately and by the end of my walk I would have connected to at least three or four others doing the same thing. We have stopped and spoken to each other, if only for a moment or two, but we have taken the time to connect and chat. In stark contrast, walking down the street it is so noticeable that people do not take the time to stop and chat, but most walk with their heads down totally oblivious to what is going on around them, so missing out on a most precious moment of connection to another.

  17. It’s so true, that it’s been given to us as a support. A reminder that life is more than our problems, that there is a much bigger picture at play that asks us to appreciate how powerful we really are if we allow ourselves to go there.

  18. I love the reflection of harmony nature offers us, through it’s seasons and how different species live to keep the balance, all inter connected and part of the whole. Every day nature offers reflections to learn from to live harmoniously.

  19. There is so much to observe in nature… But the thing is….can we be still enough to observe or feel what is there to be seen. Sometimes the answers which are glaringly obvious are right in front of us and still can’t be seen.

  20. Community gardens are a great example of not only bringing people together but how our relationships can deepen because of the shared green space that is the garden and working together in that space. There have been many examples of this, especially for people with mental ill health.

  21. Nature is one of our best medicines, but like all things must be ‘used’ with respect and responsibility.

  22. Having pets has also been shown to be very supportive to many people – not just the dogs that are trained as support dogs for people with anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, but just owning a pet (cat, or dog especially) and caring for them and caressing them has been shown to reduce stress markers in people. This is amazing confirmation of how nature is always there ready to support us.

    1. Dogs being walked provide many opportunities for people who are strangers to connect together, either stopping to ask the breed of the dog and stroke it and conversations develop from there.

  23. It is beautiful when research actually supports something that we already know within ourselves. I have noticed when my grandson is a little unsettled if I take him outside, he quickly returns to his still self.

  24. Nature is a beautiful reflection and shows us the harmony we could be living in. It is the sparkle and the magic all around us.I always feel more connection to my body after I have been out for a walk, no matter the weather.

  25. ” Nature: The Ultimate Reflection ” This is so important to remember its the ultimate reflector for it only reflects whats true.

  26. It makes sense that nature revitalises people, there is so much wonderment in how it is all designed, it’s amazing for reminding us how magic life is and how grand it is to be part of all of this.

  27. It is true, in a supermarket people don’t say hello or smile at each other when they walk past but in a park or at the beach they are much more likely to open up and connect to others in that way.

    1. This has also been my experience. I have met some lovely people and had some in-depth conversations while out walking in the park and yet if walking in the street people hardly make eye contact.

  28. Nature has always been a great reflection to me that there is something more to life than what we see. It has a positive impact on my body if I am tense or stressed or it gives a warm glow of meeting a like quality when I am already at ease and open within myself.

  29. Nature is stunning and many times the absolute beauty of it just blows me away. I have just come back from the country in the UK (I live in London) and I could feel how healing this was for my body to be surrounded by nature, the landscapes and the cool clear crisp mornings with incredible sunrises .. so beautiful. So yes it makes sense it would benefit our health and wellbeing.

  30. Thank you Maree. I have recently noticed how disconnected I have become to nature which is very unusual for me, so I appreciate all the reminders in your blog. I have always found such inspiration, healing, and beauty when in nature and found it very restorative. I am planning a garden at the moment and am in the joy of examining plants, flowers and food plants, and how to design it all.

  31. Through its reflections, nature offers the blueprint to all of life, and for humanity to learn to live more harmoniously together.” Beautifully expressed Maree. Every plant – and indeed every weed (which is just a plant in the wrong place) finds its own milieu. Bulbs, flowers , trees all live alongside each other, expressing the uniqueness of their individual species . Nature offers us a beautiful reflection to do the same.

  32. ‘Our world is an amazing place, here to support us to live with more harmony.’ This is so true. I have visited a mental health hospital and the grounds, I have no doubt support those there to reconnect with harmony and as they do, this supports them to regulate themselves.

  33. “Being in nature seems to support us to be more willing to connect openly with each other, perhaps because we have connected more intimately with ourselves. ” I’ve noticed this too and feel you’re spot on. There’s an openness that comes from feeling ourselves more and then expressing our natural impulse to connect with others. It’s only in our contracted form we keep people out and stay behind our wall of protection.

  34. I love how nature can be part of life’s daily medicine and offer us a point of reflection to what we too hold. for example the stillness, joy and honesty we see in nature are also innate qualities we too hold within, this is a great point of reference for all to appreciate and reflect on. Nature and it’s rhythms, is the magic that we all innately hold within our own expressions too.

  35. ” Nature is a gift from the Divine, the most precious gift of all, and it was given to Us as the ultimate support.”
    This is so true and nature never fails as it never changes its understanding of life , life is about harmony.

    1. I love what you’ve said about nature never failing because it never changes its understanding, its constant expression of harmony. I can see how I’ve never fully appreciated this aspect so consciously before but now I can be inspired by nature’s unfaltering way. No matter if it’s a storm or a still winter’s day it is always obedient to harmony.

  36. I have spent most of my 60+ years in a love affair with nature, and it does reflect on how we react to life. I have moved to London from the countryside. I have large areas of green and a small brook in front of my house with woods and green fields in both directions. The wildlife here does reflect the people that live here, except they have attitude! We have a lot of foxes if you are driving at night and a fox walks into the road, stops looks at you, and if it could talk it would say “What”! Crows attack cranes that are huge in comparison. Ducks and Rats co-exist. Nature: the Ultimate Reflection, it is in London.

    1. I agree with you Steve since we moved to London from the Oxfordshire countryside we have seen more foxes, ducks, geese, crows, pigeons, water rats and the cranes than we ever saw while living in the countryside. Nature reflects so beautifully here that I feel there is an abundance of messages constantly being given to us; things like a mass of green parakeets flying low level was amazing, along with a flyby of four ducks circling anti-clockwise first thing in the morning (what a greeting) and then setting themselves back in the same place.

  37. The wisdom of nature has long been recognized throughout the history of mankind, and held as such in many traditions. It feels very unnatural for us to be trashing and interfering with nature as we do now.

  38. If my daughter is feeling out of sorts I take her into nature and it is beautiful to see her return to herself again. Nature offers us a space to re-connect, rejuvenate and to deeply heal – it is part of my daily medicine.

    1. Thank you Anna, you have made an inspiring point that it can be part of our daily medicine. I have heard nature referred to as Vitamin N – it really can do wonders for us.

  39. I agree. I think being in nature can help us to let go of emotion and excess tension, to open up and re-connect with a deeper place inside of us that is harmonious, and then when we do this we can remember that we always have the opportunity to re-connect with this place inside of us, whether we are in a beautiful surrounding or not…

  40. “Through its reflections, nature offers the blueprint to all of life, and for humanity to learn to live more harmoniously together.” thank you Maree for your inspiring blog reminding me of the blessings that nature holds for us. I haven’t walked in nature lately and I am missing the harmony I feel when in nature.

  41. There is so much that we do not understand… For example the healing rates mentioned in this article and the simple correlation between looking at nature and healing… There are so many examples like this that we could become overwhelmed with our ignorance… And yet all we simply have to do is reconnect in gentleness without own inner awareness within our bodies and we will know all that needs to be known

  42. We as humans put conditions on our life and then we are restricted in what we see and how we see. Nature on the other hand just is, radiant and perfectly designed for what ever it’s purpose is. When we strip back our conditions, ideals, beliefs and pictures and let them all go we to are radiant and perfect, designed for what ever our purpose is which is innately within us.

    1. That’s true Natalie, Nature is just in it’s perfect, full and unaltered state. We never see a tree reduce itself in the way humans do because of beliefs and ideals, it just grows and blossoms in full and in accordance to the cycles, and within the greater interdependence it’s from. And we never see a tiger be a lion or a zebra be an antelope – everything stays within its blueprint and fulfils its purpose as part of the greater whole.

  43. We have so much to learn from nature, especially it’s order, harmony and interdependence and yet we ignore our greatest teacher, because we think we know better.

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