Let’s Work on Our Relationship with Nature22 Dec 2020
Sometimes, our constants fade into the background. While on the constant search for new connections and experiences, the meaning of our most precious constant, our existence, can fade away. It is ironic that with all our technological advancements, our human nature has been constrained. We’re measured by our ‘output’, our ‘productivity’, our ‘value’ to society. We use metaphors relating to money and technology to describe elements of ourselves which we do not even fully understand.
Besides ourselves, what other constants do we have? As humans, we are connected to each other, but beyond that, we cannot ignore our deep-rooted connections to Nature. When I refer to Nature here, I mean all that is organic matter besides us. At a basic level, we share the concept of existence. Nature represents a grounded force that has been around since the beginning of time. In an increasingly manufactured world, our interaction and connection with Nature could not be more crucial.
It is relevant here to mention how large-scale actions which define our relationship with Nature have contributed to a volatile global climate change situation. Whether it’s something small like ‘weeding’ plants or large-scale actions such as deforesting & overfishing, the root of these actions represent how we have forgotten how much our existence depends on Nature. No matter how technologically advanced we become, our existences are not as bulletproof as we think.
I recently read an article on ecopsychology and how immersion in nature is being trialled as a treatment by therapists. This makes so much sense to me, sometimes you just need to return to your roots (excuse the pun!). Nature awakens so much wonder and curiosity in me, how each tree is different, each leaf, each flower petal even. Nature is wild, it is independent, it is continuous and defiant. For me, Nature is a symbol of the divine, it reaffirms my spirituality and connection to a higher power.
So much of our mindset towards Nature lacks respect in that we believe it is for us to exploit, yet we forget how transactional our relationship really is. The nature of this relationship was made very apparent to me recently when I lost a close family member. Just going out for long walks in the countryside and observing all the processes of nature helped me deal with the reality of life/death cycles. I saw this reflected all around me, the trees shedding their leaves, preparing for a new season followed by the transition period where nature regenerates itself.
This cyclical aspect of nature is so beautiful because it really highlights how we, as human beings also re-enact these cycles. Our cycles may not be spring, summer and winter, but they are birth, adolescence and death. Seeing Nature go through these cycles helped me reflect on my own mortality and how it is not necessarily a bad thing.
The lockdowns over the past few months have made many of us rethink our priorities and energies, there is so much space in Nature to heal and to thrive, and so many of us have rediscovered that. We talk about ‘detaching’ from our daily hustle and ‘escaping’ to the countryside. Still, I firmly believe that our presence is so deeply connected to nature that it is not detachment to spend time in nature, but a revival.