There is something to be said for the Buddhist view of living ‘in this moment right now’. Not trying to place oneself in the future, nor dwelling too long in the past. Being in this moment and no other can help allay some of that stress. It can help reduce the unwitting catastrophizing that we create as it enables us to be conscious of nothing more than, “In this moment I remember to breathe and I find a place of stillness within.” There is the chance to find peace in that.
Nature can help us too. In fact, I am finding that now more than ever, a deepened connection with nature is a balm for the soul. It can help us find perspective. It can give us a new way of looking at things, provide an ancient perspective fully embedded in the rhythms and cycles of life.
"Now more than ever, a deepened connection with nature is a balm for the soul. It can help us find perspective. It can give us a new way of looking at things."
People sometimes ask me to take them further into this idea. So here’s an example:
Imagine you are feeling a bit besieged by everything going on at the moment and you feel a strong need to be able to find some peace so that you can figure out what is at the root of the problems you are dealing with.
You go to a creek that you love and sit on the bank under that shade of a willow tree. You hear the gurgle of the stream and the chirping of the birds. The late afternoon sun is shining through leaves of trees. The grass is green and the setting almost glows with greenness (the 12th Century abbess and mystic Hildegard of Bingen called this ‘viriditas’). You sit and allow yourself to become calm, to become a part of, not apart from, this beautiful natural setting.
You ask for a sign that can help you through the muddle you are in. After a while you notice a large ribbed broad leaf of Plantago major (ribwort) growing out over the water. You know that ribwort is used in traditional herbal medicine to draw out infection so wounds can heal, and you find yourself thinking about the negative aspects and emotions to your problem and you picture the ribwort drawing them out and the creek washing them away. Then you notice above your head the trees are walnut. The creator of Bach Rescue Remedy, Dr Edward Bach described the essence of walnut as helping protect you from outside influences. When you think of the nut that looks so like a brain, nestled and protected in its hard shell, you see what he means.
So in this moment, nature could be telling you that you have the ability to identify, draw out and release the negativity, and also to be conscious of not being swayed by outside forces and opinions. The greenness of the setting reminds you to connect to what is really in your heart.
Connecting to Nature where ever you are
Everything is energy. We are. A flower is. Your dog who looks at you with loving eyes. We are all vibration. Seers and mystics knew it. Priests and healers know it. Physicists know it. And within all this energy there is resonance - we find ourselves attuned to different frequencies depending on circumstance.
We can connect with the energy of a plant in the same way as we can with a person or a place. The more we learn and understand the plants around us, the deeper that connection grows. The deeper it grows the more peace we can gain. The energy of plants can help us find calm and peace and belonging.
I have noticed an increasing number of people coming to my website to purchase the plant essences I make from plants growing organically in my garden and surrounding forests. Some who come have used plant essences for some time, others have not used them before and wonder what they may do. Plant essences are a way of gently capturing some of that plant energy and creating drops that can be used anywhere, even in the most urban of environments. They are a hug in a bottle, a buddha in a drop, a landscape in your hands.
I hear many stories of how since using the essences and elixirs things have shifted for people. This may just be coincidence, but I like to think that it is that simple deepening of one’s relationship with nature that helps create change and the acknowledgement of and connection to the energetic character of a plant can resonate with the energy and emotions within us. I’ve seen and heard too many stories and instances of this happening to think otherwise.
Nature also helps us slow down. Nature helps us see that cycles come, and they go. We see life and we see death, and we see life again. Nature, like Buddhism, helps us navigate life in this moment right now.
"Nature, like Buddhism, helps us navigate life in this moment right now."
The other thing about nature is it just sees you for you, in that moment. It is the eyes and heart of unconditional love. Nature gives you a place to go to in order to find comfort. It is the place where you can shed your tears, or feel the warmth of the sun on your face. Nature can give you the hug you are wishing for from a friend. Nature can help us wash away our fears and draw up energy and strength to move forward again. Nature can show us that all things pass.
The more we observe nature, with its rhythms and cycles; its seasons and rising up and falling away, the ore we can see ourselves in these patterns.
When we find a place of peace in Nature, we can also find peace in ourselves. Everything is connected. We are nature and nature is us. We are the Buddha in the garden and, in this moment of stillness we are the air we breathe into our lungs, the light we draw into our heart, the love , the big unending love of time place and cosmos.
Finding yourself in the Moment:
Find a quiet place in Nature and find a sense of stillness inside your own soul
Breathe into your body and into the landscape around you
Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature around you and your own breath within those sounds
Feel the earth beneath your feet
Learn to work with plant essences - you can take them anywhere
Sense the magnificence of trees… and become the tree
Breath in love