Have you ever wondered why being in nature makes you feel so joyful and refreshed? Knowing why this happens can become an interesting learning experience. The lush greenery has something gravitational about its presence. It calls and holds us snuggly within its chlorophyllous embrace. During spring, leaves are out; trees are back to life after having stood witness to the bone-chilling winter. Flowers are blooming and smiles are aplenty.
We feel better in our body and mind in natural surroundings. Our thoughts are clear and harmonious. Emotions are even keeled. There is subtle spring in the walk and our relationships tend to heal.
What is so transcendent and therapeutic about nature that lifts veil on moods and transports, even if temporarily, us out of everyday hassles?
If you notice, trees, grass and greenery don’t judge. They are just there, waiting to hold you in their embrace. They let you walk over them, climb them, cut them, take them home, throw away their parts, yet they never turn away from you. They don’t complain if you are late or don’t even show up. They practice patience and acceptance in silent dignity. They let us be whoever we want to be in their presence. Grown-ups can be kids around tree and nature, not at risk of being called buffoons.
In some unplanned way, nature shows us the value of not taking ourselves too seriously, even to the point of helping us drop masks we so assiduously try to keep on. Trees also accept the inevitability of change and roll with the punches as seasons change. Come winter and they are ready to shed their protective layers of leaves and branches to brave the bark-splitting cold of the Northern hemisphere. They stand tall witness to the ever changing face of life, silently doing whatever needs to be done to stay alive. They don’t struggle as much as we do.
The following Zen saying puts it beautifully:
and the grass grows by itself”.
—A Zen saying
There is also some effortlessness in the way nature presents itself and no artificiality in the manner leaves or branches connect to its source—the roots. When touched by a breeze branches undulate gently and when a strong force buffets them, they swing violently. It seems they know how to respond to the demands of the situation. However, they are quick to return to stillness at the first available opportunity; no more swinging after the storm has passed.
Unlike humans who tend to keep on suffering after the storm has passed, sometime years after the episode and out of memory and excessive attachment to the past and their failure to maintain contact the reality of present moment.
May be, just maybe, if we can take home some of these attributes which are so natural to trees and nature, that our own life may be transformed from being rigid, over-critical and judgmental to a gentler and richer possibility. The dignity and unconditional love of nature is what touches us at the very core of our being, allowing us to heal and blossom.
In a way trees and all other nature has to offer remind us, through their dignity, love and acceptance, of what is already present in our hearts—the potential and possibility of being alive and loved and extending that affections to other fellow beings.