“Nature itself is the best physician.” Hippocrates, 350 B.C.
Healing can be facilitated by many different sources. Nature has long been a source of significant physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing; yet is often overlooked or underappreciated for its healing qualities. Nature is too often perceived as just being a visual experience. It goes far beyond and much deeper than just the visual.
For many, nature is a source of inspiration, solace, guidance, and regeneration/healing. (paraphrased from Kirsti A. Dyer, M.D.’s website) “Nature is the one place where miracles not only happen, but they happen all the time.” (Thomas Wolfe, 1925)
We just need to take the time and effort to seek out a place in nature, then to look deep into nature in order to experience the deeper healing that can be facilitated by the natural world; and to learn the lessons that nature can teach us about ourselves, our lives, Higher Power, and our world. “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” (Albert Einstein) Nature can be viewed as a metaphor to teach us many lessons about life itself.
Many cultures of the ancient world recognized the healing that can can be found by tapping into the natural world’s healing qualities. The ancient Hawaiians lived in harmony with nature in order to experience healing of mind, body, and spirit. The word “Aloha” contains this philosophy of the importance of living in harmony with the natural world. A dear friend of mine, Renee Baribeau has just published a book, Winds of Spirit (Hay House, 2017) that illustrates the healing of mind, body , and spirit that can be found in nature.
There is scientific research that validates these claims about the healing found in the natural world. A few examples include: In 2013, Christensen, Holt, and Wilson found that subjects over the age of 65 who engaged in outdoor activities 4 or more times weekly had significantly less depression, and in turn, fewer physical illnesses than the group who rarely spent time in nature. — A 1984 study by R. S. Ulrich showed that hospitalized patients recovered significantly faster after surgery when their rooms looked out on nature, as opposed to looking out on another building. — In 2003, people of all socio-economic levels who were living in greener areas were found to be significantly healthier overall than people who lived in less green environments (deVries, Verheij, Groenwegen, Spreeuwenburg). And of course there is an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence of people who found healing of mind, body, and spirit by immersing themselves in nature.
My earliest memory is of finding a very deep sense of peace in a time of extreme trauma in my life (age 4) as I sat under my favorite palm tree in our 5 acre hilltop yard looking out over the Hawaiian Pacific. That deep sense of spiritual, emotional, and physical meaning in life stays with me to this day; and that image is as vivid as ever, 60 years later. I return to places like that at least annually for healing and insight.
Spending time in nature will give you a sense of peace. It will give you a chance to be inspired; and give you insights that you need to facilitate your healing. You can find answers to questions you have had about yourself and about life. You just might find a miracle there.
“Nature gave the word glory a meaning for me. I still do not know where else I could have found one.” (C.S. Lewis)
Christopher Knippers, Ph.D. May 17, 2017