Nature's Medicine - Spiritual/ Psychological "Detox"

in #meditiation3 months ago (edited)

image.png

I think in today's age it's easy to forget how innately intelligent and wise our own consciousness is and, by extension, our body and mind are. This technologically advanced society that we all now live in provides countless benefits, in all aspects of life, but it also comes with its cons. I'd argue that the biggest loss in our evolution towards greater and greater advancements in technology, science and medicine has been our general disconnect with all matters of spirituality, particularly that of feeling a connection with nature and developing, and trusting, our own intuition. When it comes to making the "right" choices, regarding our own sense of fulfillment, general health and well being, I think we fall short of generations in the past.

In a way, we've come to a point of having a tendency to over complicate things, and it's most likely because we just have too many options, so many different approaches, and paths that we can take, to try to achieve our goals. This includes how we come to decide what our goals are, in the first place.

How can we be sure what is the "right" path? Is there a way to truly KNOW what we should do, how we should act, what choice(s) we should make, in order to optimize our health, in order to maximize our enjoyment, in order to be at our best? Are the "medicines", both literal and figurative, that we decide to take really the best option(s) available to us?

Many have argued in the past, and some, albeit much less (on a percentage basis of the population of humanity) still argue that the best medicine is trusting, and following, one's own intuition. That is, learning to trust the intelligence and wisdom that is inherent to one's own consciousness.

I, myself, have grown to accept this view, over time, after experimenting with numerous approaches to overcoming my own suffering, and there has been PLENTY of it in my life's journey, up to this point. It's taken a lot of time for me to get to this point of really feeling trust in myself (my own intuition), in a truly deep way, but I can say that once I found myself here, I feel a lot less lost, and significantly less stressed-out over my own perceived problems, than I ever recall experiencing in my past.

I truly feel like MOST (not all, but most) "answers" regarding maximizing our own sense of fulfillment and well being lies in putting more and more faith in our own inner-wisdom. The question for me has now become, "how to best optimize that faith?" In other words, my focus has now become finding the most efficient and effective path to deeply connecting to myself, to the point that the answers appear obvious to me, no longer requiring that I need to "search" for them.

What I've described is the "spiritual path", and it's a path that millions before me have taken and millions more will take after I'm long gone. I'm convinced that now, more than ever before, we humans are in need of this potent prescription of nature - this medicine that is wired into our very DNA - this powerfully healing tool that is built into our very consciousness, that MOST of us have seem to forgotten about and have abandoned out of shear negligence.

Ignorance is almost certainly humanity's greatest villain, and what I'm describing right now is the ULTIMATE ignorance - our own self-correcting mechanism, inherent in our DNA, reachable through our own consciousness. It's a self-healing medicine!

Back now to the important question of how to awaken that wisdom - that medicine. How do we approach this? As with pretty much anything else that we can take a swing at in life, there are countless options to approach this, some less effective than others, some requiring a lot more time and effort than others, to achieve the same ends.

I find the oft used saying "beauty in simplicity" an attractive starting point. One might prefer to replace that with KISS (keep it simple, stupid), but they both come to roughly the same. I tend to believe at this point in my life, after having trudged through years of depression and seemingly endless stress and suffering, that most of these things, these negative states of being, are self-imposed and, furthermore, that most of it is born out of over complicating the matters of one's life. It seems to me to arise out of being ignorant of an apparently universal law - "beauty [is truly] in simplicity".

We just have to LET GO of the unnecessary "luggage", and all the self-imposed burdens and over complications that arise with carrying them around with us all the time. We have to RELEASE our grip over the "suit case" that has all that luggage crammed within it. Completely DROP that "container" of unnecessary burdens - this container that we usually find ourselves WITHIN (not standing outside of and holding in our hands) - which is more like a labyrinth of unnecessary suffering than it is a toolbox to shaping our lives into being at our best.

The true toolbox to being at our best is in LETTING GO, in a deep and meaningful way. But how do we do that as simply and easily as possible? How can we leverage this concept of "beauty in simplicity"?

I suggest that we go back to our roots - back to the ways of our ancestors, long, long ago. Specifically, by re-establishing our innate, immensely deep, connection to nature, particularly the most beautiful, awe inspiring, qualities therein. Even if we haven't ever felt any type of connection to nature, I'm convinced that the potential is there for all us to feel it, like a seed waiting to be watered and provided with the proper nutrients, so that it can grow into what it was meant to become. I think the same holds true for humans, regarding our connection to nature and, by extension, to ourselves (our own intuition).

Certainly, most of us have experienced awe by observing a scene in nature, whether by being there in person or by witnessing it second-hand, through video or a photo. That awe and/or wonder that tends to be awoken within us when we observe something that we find particularly beautiful can act as a very potent catalyst to a, at least, somewhat controlled positive self-transformation, which is wonderful, by itself.

However, I'm confident that the much greater value of observing that type of beauty lies in what I'm convinced is its ability to awaken deep insight into our own inner-wisdom. Specifically, broadening our access to the all-important "answers" that I mentioned above (how to live the most fulfilled life possible).

In other words, if we don't try to impose change by controlling what we gain from observing the beauty of nature, we get MORE from it. By simply "listening" to nature we gain more than by attempting to use its potency to transform ourselves in the way(s) that we're convinced we need to transform. And by "listening to nature" I really mean "deeply listening to yourself" (your own intuition), it's just that a great way, perhaps the best, most effective way, to achieve this is to observe the beauty of nature - using it as the tool to open up the box to your own inner-wisdom.

Another way to look at this is that we have our "ego", which is the self that we currently take ourselves to be, and all the world-concepts and belief structures that come packaged with that sense of identity, then we have the max potential of the self that we could/ can be, if all the right check-boxes were ticked, that currently lies dormant (to some degree) somewhere within us, just waiting to be awoken, but we currently don't have complete access to the specific identity of that potential, nor knowledge of how to completely awaken him or her.

Rather than take a guess at what that person might be like and then taking steps to try to get there, I'm suggesting that it's much more effective to drop the search for that person and the efforts at becoming that person, altogether. The real fruit comes with replacing all that effort at controlling our outcome with learning to listen to the "voice" that comes from the greatest depths of our own intuition, which I'm suggests may be awoken by observing the beauty of nature.

One way to do this, a way that I've been using a lot recently, is by simply watching a high quality nature-walk video in an area that you find beautiful, trying to immerse oneself into the experience of being there, as much as possible. Of course, another way is to actually go out and be in nature, somewhere that you personally find to be very beautiful. I'd argue that the former can be even more potent than the latter in some cases, particularly because certain perceived risks of actually being out in nature are avoided by observing from the relative safety of one's own home. For instance, you presumably don't run the risk of being attacked by a cougar or a bear when watching nature from the comfort of your own couch, in your living room, while those risks are there, however small, when you're actually out in the brush, walking among all the life that it provides a home to.

I tend to prefer the former (although I do enjoy being out in nature, too) because I'm deeply introverted and am even currently suffering with low-level social anxiety, so watching through video provides me with the extra comfort of avoiding anxiety around interactions with people that I may happen to come across, if I were to actually go out and be in nature.

I must admit that it's a lot more natural and easy to feel immersed in nature when you're actually in it, seeing it in person, as you smell the aromas and hear the sounds of a forest, or whatever other type of natural environment that you opt for, which is why I suggest that you go for a video that is as high resolution as possible (preferably 4K), to make it appear as real to you as possible. Also, it's important to immerse ourselves with the sounds of nature, so opting for a video with the real sounds that were there when captured, and with as high of quality of fidelity as can be achieved, are preferable to other types of sounds and/or low quality audio. Furthermore, we should aim to breath the same type of air that we would breath in that natural setting, so cracking open a window to breath more "fresh" air would be wise.

Once finding a video that meets all of those qualities, we should then find a time to watch it when we will be least disturbed by daily affairs and any other types of distractions, and then try to give as much of our attention to it as we can possibly achieve.

Try to become "lost" in the scenery. Try to be THERE, in the scene, as if it's happening through your own eyes.

Next comes the most most important part. Put all of your attention into LISTENING to nature. So much so that you GIVE UP all that you believe to it. So much so that you LET GO of everything that your psyche holds together, to include your worries, your doubts and your fears. Leaving all of your stresses behind. Leaving all of your beliefs about yourself and about the world behind. Leaving behind all of your concepts and ideas. Giving it ALL up to being COMPLETELY immersed in this observation of the beauty of nature. If you hold onto anything, make it about trying to listen with your heart, or your whole being.

You can hold an important question, if you like, but I'm convinced the more potent, and more healing, approach is to go in "empty", trusting that nature will provide the right solutions/ insights, perhaps even to questions that you wouldn't think to ask. However, even holding onto the effort of trying to listen can, itself, be a distraction. Therefore, the best that can be achieved, as I see it, is to let go of even that. Let go of any type of search, no matter how subtle. Have no goals nor aims. Just be ENTIRELY immersed in the experience of the observation. LOSE yourself in it!

This "giving it all away" to nature approach is really only a slight variation to the perspective of many religions, of "surrendering to God", or "giving it all up to God". Most religious texts describe God as above all things, to include nature, but many, myself included, define God as nature (or, in this case, "Nature", with a capital n). So, depending on which camp you fall within, you may agree or disagree that the two equate to the same.

Regardless, I'm convinced that "surrendering to nature" is a very potent, powerfully healing medicine. I think it's the medicine that the majority of us need the most. That's not to say that I believe it's the only, or best, solution in all cases. I don't think that this is the right solution for diagnosing a physical condition or for treating one. In those cases traditional medicine is very valuable and usually provides the best solutions. But when it comes to matters of psychological suffering, I do believe that this is GENERALLY the best solution.

Traditional medicine almost certainly can work at treating the symptoms, and even root causes, of specific types of psychological conditions of suffering (usually labeled as "psychological disorders"), and may even be the best solution in some cases, but generally speaking, in most cases, nature is the BEST medicine - that's my take.

I don't think it's wise to use this "natural medicine", if you will, as a replacement for all other types of psychological medicines and treatments, across the board, rather, I think it's in all of our best interests to use it in addition to the traditional approaches.

I DO believe that there are cases of people who can entirely replace their current means of treating a mental condition with this natural form of medicine, and perhaps get even better results, and without the risks/ symptoms associated with the traditional medicine option(s), but there are simply too many risks that come along with completely throwing out the former for the latter for me to suggest that one should do so.

I think it's much wiser to go with the option(s) that have been proven, to some high degree of statistical certainty, to have a positive effect at treating psychological conditions, while also trying this natural method as a type of "supplement" to the other treatment(s), and only considering the possibility of replacing the former with the natural alternative once we've gathered enough real-world evidence for ourselves that it actually does a sufficient job, by itself, and even then, we should take great care in heeding the advice of the top medical practitioners in the relevant field(s) to those conditions. Again, this is only my take on the matter, not medical advice.

The key takeaway is that it can't hurt to give "nature's medicine" a go. A replacement therapy it may not be, but a useful tool in being even more well, I assure you that it can be, at the VERY least.

Quick summary: if we really want to be at our best, we have to consider all options. One proven solution that has been tried-and-tested through the ages is to learn to trust ourselves in the deepest of possible ways (developing greater faith in our own intuition). In my opinion, one of the most effective and efficient ways to get to that point is to deeply observe the scenery of nature that we find to be particularly beautiful, becoming so immersed in that beauty that we let go of our worries and even our self-concepts. The more immersed we can become in that beautiful scenery of nature, the more we release from all the baggage and over complications (of determining what we need and how to meet those needs) and, therefore, the better we feel, in the moment. More importantly, the clearer we can see how we truly suffer and how to best approach setting the situation right. This is the approach of finding solutions through intuition and insight (trusting our own inner-intelligence/ wisdom to set things right).

As to the specifics of what we should aim for, regarding what scenery to make the focus or whether we should aim to physically be in the environment versus observing it on video, that will come down to our own particular situation, to include our personal preferences and specific ways that we suffer.

I personally prefer watching high quality (4K) video of nature walks, that include real, high quality, audio. I watch it on a big, 4K television, and sit close enough to it that it takes up most of my field of vision. I turn the volume up enough that it's close to what I'd expect all the intensity of sounds to be if I were there, in person, while removing myself from as many other outside sounds, and other types of distractions as possible.

If weather permits, and the air quality outside is sufficient, I'll crack open a window to allow the fresh air (that we would expect to breath when out in nature) to fill the room. Then I'll try to lose myself into the footage of the scenery as much as I can muster, aiming at becoming so immersed in the experience that I forget who I am and, therefore, leave behind all of the baggage that comes with who I currently identify as.

If there's any effort at all, it's in trying to "listen", not with only my ears, but with my WHOLE being! If there is a "center" to the listening at all, I'd pin it down to the area of the heart, but really I think the best benefit comes from utilizing the whole sensory field of our awareness, to "feel out" the connection/ communication/ answer(s) being established.

It might help to think of this as communing with the "spirit" ("of the forest", or of "nature"), as if we're re-acquainting with an old friend that we may have just forgotten after so many years of being apart. A good start might be to just see if we can sense some type of connection to nature, in the first place, and only once that's established, pushing further on to listen for answers.

We can treat it like an evolution of "letting go". First we establish trust by leaning more and more into it, feeling it out more and more, until we're confident enough to go all-in on the "trust fall", sufficiently assured that we will be caught by the other party. At that point we're fully surrendered - at the mercy of "mother earth", if you will.

I have an inclination towards finding immense beauty in old-growth forests, so that has worked well as my "source material" when doing this practice, but you may find that something else works better for you (ie natural springs, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, beaches, etc), so this may require a bit of experimentation and comparisons between the various options before you find something that clearly works.

That said, I've currently been using this high quality YouTube video for this "meditation", if you don't mind me using that term in this context. Hopefully you find this, or some other means of connecting to nature, useful for you :)