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Extreme Nature
Photo: E. Solovieva
“Extreme Natural Disasters” seems to be the global theme song of the last five years. From the great tsunami of 2004 to Hurricane Katrina to the recent earthquakes in China, nature seems to have turned against us. Drought, fires, tornadoes and floods are literally engulfing our planet.

For centuries people have been looking to nature for spiritual balance and physical renewal. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, understood its potential when he wrote, “Nature cures – not the physician.”

Yet if nature can be destructively indifferent and even cruel, why do so many people insist on perceiving her as capable of healing troubled minds and hearts? Why do we continually turn to her in times of stress? What is there in nature’s wild yet sublime silence that touches the human heart?

Nature Beyond Ego

Natural health writers, John and Wendy Gist, say the answer is as simple as a falling leaf or the brilliant colors of a newly opened flower or the rings in the trunk of a fallen tree. “When one is immersed in nature the individual ego is shed and a truer sense of self emerges. The natural world is so much bigger than we are, so much stronger and more resilient,” the Gists explain. “Nature welcomes the ego-driven human back into his or her original, God-created state. Nature, it seems, is not actually indifferent; rather she is beyond ego, and as such is unwaveringly fair. There is nothing personal in her dangers…or her wonders.”

The Gists also see secular living as tending to ignore spiritual development. But ignoring this powerful element in life limits one’s potential. Immersing ourselves in nature, however, serves to affirm and enhance the spiritual capacity inherent in each human being.

When you find yourself stressed out – too many worries, too much noise, not enough time – stop and get outside. The world’s most powerful stress antidote is waiting there. Tune in to the symmetry of a newly sprung leaf, the song of a red bird, the glow of the sunset. Let your soul be refreshed by the fragrant beauty of the roses, the mystery of the stars, the velvet feel of grass beneath your toes.

American author Thomas Wolfe observed that despite the trauma caused in the world by natural disasters “Nature is the one place where miracles not only happen, but they happen all the time.” And from these quiet brushes with the miraculous, we grow strong.

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By Brenda Forbes Dickersonl. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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