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Nature

The real world, our birthplace and true home. This incredible, sublime system that developed on this planet over the course of millions upon millions of years has much to teach us, if we would but let it. That is the problem many wise persons face when trying to get others out of their ruts and into a positive, powerful state of mind: they must first embrace their roots and leave behind their false understandings of the world.
"What's so important about nature?" many ask, as if it weren't the foundation of everything on this planet, the true wellspring of life, the origin and home of every species. It sustains us, envelops us, feeds us, nurtures us, and provides us with all that we need. It may be difficult to see this through the veil of the modern industrialized world, but it remains true nonetheless.
natural-world

Understanding Our Situation

Whole books could be written on the relationship between human suffering and their separation from nature. It is indeed a topic of much interest for us, as it becomes increasingly apparent the more aware one gets that a great deal of societal madness springs from the rift that has emerged between humankind and our natural home.
If you want to live a holistic, balanced life, you must re-integrate yourself back into nature. This is essential. There is simply no substitute for the natural world and all that it has to offer, as we will be going into more detail about below. It cannot be stressed enough how unnatural it is that we "buck the system" and exclude ourselves from the web of life. The suffering this has caused our species is honestly immesurable.
We know many of you reading this will have already experienced the symptoms of this disconnection: lack of direction, apathy, the feeling of not quite being in control, chaos, "bad luck," thick or heavy air or energy following you around, depression or anxiety for no reason, mental fatigue, moodiness, yearning for connection even while having great friends and family, sluggish thoughts, lack of appetite or cravings for salty foods. Any combination of these symptoms over a period of time is likely the result of what some call "energy burnout." There can be many causes of this, but the foremost one is simply that your batteries are in need of a serious recharge, and sometimes even high energy foods and workout techniques are not enough. We need to return to our true "recharge station."
embrace-nature

Exploring the Natural World

Sadly, it's no longer common sense to say "our home is in nature," or "peace can be found in nature." Between our prolonged existence in modern society, and the steady stream of propaganda we are fed about the natural world, many people don't even want anything to do with it, and others are merely apathetic.
We've been told nature is dangerous, primitive, nasty, disease-ridden, useless. Not necessarily explicitly, but these ideas are prolific in our society. This breed an unnatural fear and anxiety in us: we know the truth but we must ignore it for the sake of upholding the status quo. Beyond this, many of the gospel truths of our society rest on this very distorted picture of nature: wild animals are dirty and dangerous and must be avoided, our technology is more advanced (and important) than nature, natural resources are ours for the taking regardless of what happens to the planet, humans are the smart ones while everything in nature is conveniently dumber and thus less valuable, and perhaps one of the most insane lies of all, that we dictate our diet and not nature.
These are all hideous myths that do immense psychological damage to our collective psyche. We have millions of people who think every other squirrel they see has rabies, kids are encouraged not to play in the woods or lakes due to any number of supposedly dire illnesses or issues that might befall them, and there are entire industries alive and well today based around the idea that we're not designed to be exposed to the elements, when every other mammal on Earth somehow is.
Needless to say, delusion and illusion get the best of our species, even when we should by all rights know better. When it comes to nature, it's an absolute travesty what passes for common knowledge and "fact." Nature isn't nearly as scary and outdated as our culture would have us believe. In fact, it is the essential component to living a truly fulfilled life.
Take a moment to discard any and all assumptions you might have about the natural world. Even if you are someone who is familiar with it on some level, such as a farmer or hunter. Mental framing has long been an issue that plagues the ego - even in the face of an apparent truth, we are all too susuceptible to believing that "our" little slice of reality is the only reality, the only truth.
For example, even many people who claim to love nature have been brought up with the idea that we are in some kind of battle with nature. These old convoluted beliefs come mostly from religious and cultural beliefs, and have very little basis in fact. Know this: the more you fight against nature as an advesary, the more it will fight against you in turn. This is parallel to life in general, for it is the way energy moves. You will most certainly make life hard on yourself if you fight against tides which are meant to be ridden downstream on.
Think about our place in nature without any preconceived notions. Understand that it is a complex web of relationships and compounds interacting with one another to form a coherent system.
We are not apart from this system and never have been. In fact, we are but mere cells in a body. To attempt to live outside of this web is to entertain great folly. It would be akin to one of our own cells rebelling against the rest of our bodily systems. Could you imagine the result? Actually, we know what the result is: this exact process is what happens when we contract cancer. Cells rebel and mutate out of control, overtaking neighboring cells and eventually destroying them and the systems they represent. There is perhaps no greater indictment of us as a species: in many ways we act just like a cancer, multiplying out of control, absorbing resources and transmuting them into waste and destruction. This is the cost of living life out of the balance of nature, pretending that our frivolous ideas could somehow compete with the millions-year-old perfection of the natural world.

Lessons in Humility

These are tough pills to swallow, but ones we must if we are ever to get our heads out of our collective asses and start living a more balanced, sane life in accordance with the web of life. This is not a matter that merely concerns our species, but every one on the planet. Our immature and oftentimes psychotic behavior has pushed the planet into a crisis situation.
And no, this is not just dramatic hyperbole. Whatever you may have heard about the state of the environment is likely nowhere close to the actual level of devastation that is occurring. It's absurd to think that we could multiply a hundred-fold the amount of land animals on every continent, dump all of their waste in the rivers and oceans, fill the oceans with plastics, burn millions upon millions of metric tons of the Earth's guts into the atmosphere, and push thousands of animals to extinction in only a few generations, and naively believe, as some do, that "humans can't affect the environment."
We need to start having more mature discussions about the world we live in, and begin educating each other on the wonders of nature. and this includes the fact that it is our true home, regardless of how many technological advancements we make as a species. We are Earth-borne, nothing will ever change that. As every other creature is, we are the product of millions of years of natural experimentation brought up among the minerals of the Earth, the trees, the animals, and the elements. Our current method of existence is to place ourselves in bubbles called "houses" and avoid nearly all of the elements of living that brought about our species in the first place. Find me a more stark definition of absurdity.
Nothing in the above video is anywhere near normal, yet these are things we've come to live with, as if it is a part of life we must casually accept. Well, this might be news for some, but nature is not our dumping ground. It is not out test site, vehicle graveyard, waste disposal unit, garbage patch, junkyard, or anything else of the sort. It is our home, and if we don't take stock of our own psychotic behavior, we are going to continue living in a world where depression, chaos, and insanity rules the day.

Go Outside and Take it All In

This isn't all about doom and gloom, however. This isn't even about becoming some kind of hardcore environmental activist. Quite the contrary. This is about you and your relationship with the natural world. This is about how you can become a the best version of yourself, embrace life, and begin living without the apathy, chaos, and nonsense of the typical "mundane" life.
It all begins by taking a step outside and learning. Really take the time to learn about the environment you're in, find a place that you feel comfortable and meditate outdoors, touch the trees, the grass, the streams. And most important, do so without fear. Don't concern yourself with getting dirty (whatever that means), don't wonder what people will think if they catch you holding a tree. If you have any reservations about interacting with nature, leave them at the door.
You may not "get it" at first, and that's alright. There is much to know about this subject, far more than could be covered in a mere article or even with months of meditation under your favorite tree. It is enough for now to take that first step, and ponder on your place in it all.
In order to understand just what it is you are a part of, it might help to hear more about the interconnectedness of the natural world. This is a big deal, something that should be mandatory teaching in elementary school and yet is rarely, if ever mentioned by anyone, even environmental advocates. It is not enough to say that we are all connected because what one of us does affects the whole on a physical level - that is the most basic level of what we are talking about here, and should be obvious at this point.
To understand interconnection, we must first understand animals and plants. We tend to think of plants as mere vegetation, the backdrop of nature, while animals are the "creatures" that run around, eat, reproduce, die, and repeat, into infinity. Somewhere along the line, human beings came about. This, though generalized, is how most people in our society view the natural world on a subconscious level. Very basic, and very devoid of the undertsanding of animal and plant autonomy and worth.
Obviously, we as a species have come to define "worth" as how something relates to and benefits us. The individual life of an animal rarely matters in the face of this foundational concept. For example, it's still not uncommon that a wild bear be hunted and put down if it just so happens to find a hiker and kills them. Because that bear did what it is naturally compelled to do, its life must be taken because its autonomy is overridden by what we view as a line animals cannot cross. WE have value, WE have purpose. The bear, which may or may not have purpose but which certainly doesn't have more purpose than a human being, must be snuffed out because it crossed what is ultimately an imaginary line.
Of course, this is nonsensical absurdity. That bear wanted dinner. That bear might have been a mother out looking for a meal for her babies. More than likely, that bear was threatened by the pressence of an animal displaying erratic behavior (a human being on any given day), and decided its best course of action would be to attack.
It might be hard for some people to wrap their heads around, but animals have lives and purpose apart from us. We don't define their value. Their value is intrinsic as sentient beings on this planet - even more accurately, their purpose is their own existence. What they do with it, or what they are driven to do via chemical impulse, nerves, mind, or whatever else, is none of our concern. Human beings have absolutely zero right to dictate what living creatures have purpose and whether or not they are worthy of life.
Knowing this may shed some light on the interconnected nature of the world around us. Stop to think for a second. We're used to believing that only we have a "life". Okay, maybe our dogs and cats too. And the occasional horse. But that's about it. But you would be gravely mistaken in that assumption. All creatures have their own lives, period. What, because they don't watch daytime TV, bomb each other, and know algebra, they don't have a life? Very funny. If we are making a serious argument on the living of life (and not just "existing") I would say many of us do far less living than most animals. Our lives are full of drama, nonsense, fakery, lies, pain, disease, regulation, and impotence that most animals never come close to worrying about.

Meditate on the Choices You Make

Every day we are faced with choices regarding how we interact with the world around us. There is much to discover about the natural world, and the first steps toward learning its secrets is to honor it by making the right choices whenever possible. It's not enough to just say "i'm a nature-lover," or "I recycle," or even "I want to save the Earth." It's time to walk the talk.
Before you make a decision on any action that may affect the environment, stop and ask yourself, to what does this benefit or harm the Whole? Seek to do as little harm as possible, and work on communicating with nature rather than fighting it. You'll be surprised where it takes you.
meditate-on-nature

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