Dis­cov­er­ing na­ture’s magic, and a les­son

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - NEWS - Rameshin­der Singh Sandhu sandhu@gmail.com The writer is an Amritsar-based free­lance contributo­r

There’s noth­ing like spend­ing time with na­ture. It’s truly a com­pany like no other, with which you never feel alone, rather it feels like some­one ar­dently ac­com­pa­ny­ing you. That’s why I of­ten feel it’s like a great book – the more you read, the bet­ter you feel and of course, the bet­ter you be­come.

It’s a shoul­der one can sin­cerely rely upon that ef­fort­lessly plucks away any stress we may be car­ry­ing and calmly plants the much-needed tran­quil­lity. Mag­i­cal is when it also presents the ‘key’ to our con­cerns, and ‘an­swers’ to many of our ar­du­ous ques­tions, fol­lowed by the ‘space’ it presents to con­tem­plate them – arm­ing us with many re­al­i­sa­tions and lessons.

In­ter­est­ingly, we may be soaked in its ‘si­lence’ that Chi­nese philoso­pher Lao Tzu la­bels as a ‘source of strength’, or leisurely keep­ing tab on the wind rustling through the trees, or may be just the sound of waves by the beach­side – there’s some­thing that un­locks the cre­ativ­ity within us. Take the case of those, who sud­denly be­come po­ets sit­ting along a river bank or dur­ing a walk in a for­est. In my case too, the writer in me comes alive with many ideas that go on sprout­ing. For the con­clu­sions too, I of­ten run back to the lap of na­ture, con­sid­er­ing the magic is be­stows. Cer­tainly, there’s a rea­son why John Muir, a Scot­tish-Amer­i­can nat­u­ral­ist and au­thor once said, “In ev­ery walk with na­ture, one re­ceives more than he seeks.” How true!

Re­flect­ing on my own ex­pe­ri­ences of be­ing en­veloped in na­ture, I have weaved many sooth­ing mem­o­ries. From trekking in a Dou­glas fir for­est in New Zealand to snor­kel­ing in the Great Bar­rier Reef in Aus­tralia or even the sim­ple early morn­ing walks back home to watch the sun rise in the vil­lage fields. Be­lieve me; even rac­ing my mind to them is so ther­a­peu­tic, and con­sid­er­ing their ef­fect, I can’t agree more with Amer­i­can poet Henry David Thoreau for the epiphany he came up with: “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”

Surely na­ture is even more than a ther­apy – a free medicine that jug­gles many roles and virtues that joy­fully even heals us. That’s why, the land of ris­ing sun, Ja­pan, in­tro­duced the con­cept of for­est bathing con­cept. It was born in 1982 as a na­tional health pro­gramme called ‘Shin­rin Yoku’ which means spend­ing more time around trees, where you sim­ply have to lose your­self and be a pure observer of the en­vi­ron­ment around.

It all com­menced, tak­ing cog­nizance of how stress­ful its cit­i­zens had be­come due to ex­ces­sive work, es­pe­cially in Tokyo. Hence, ev­ery week in Ja­pan res­i­dents spend at least an hour in a for­est or a park to prac­tise this fruit­ful bath, and ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study re­leased by World Eco­nomic Fo­rum, “Spend­ing time in forests low­ers our heart and blood pres­sure and re­duces stress hor­mones. Be­sides oxy­gen, trees also re­lease sev­eral es­sen­tial oils that even treat in­som­nia and de­pres­sion.”

In na­ture, there are nei­ther re­wards nor pun­ish­ments, there are only con­se­quences. Maybe the birth of coro­n­avirus is one of the con­se­quences that we are all busy grap­pling with, and hope­fully we will learn our les­son, too. rameshin­der.


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