Many people live long, but their lives are plagued by ill health and/or ill mental health. What can we do to live more “not ill” and to live less worriedly about difficult aging? The last five blog posts have explained the importance of breathing for quality health.
Being in nature naturally opens our bodies to healing breathing when two conditions are met: 1) we want to be there and 2) we consciously connect with the flora surrounding us.
Two conditions neutralize the healthful aspects of being in nature: 1) we focus on other stimuli such as headphone-delivered music or words and 2) we consciously ignoring the flora that surround us.
Two conditions cause detrimental consequences when we are in nature: 1) fear and 2) worry.
Here is a personal example of the various conditions. Two years ago (before I was knowingly connected to Spiritual Presence), I went to Sequoia National Park with my husband and children. The weather was hot (August), but we were dressed appropriately and had plenty of water with us. As we entered the park, I was overwhelmed by the beauty and the majesty of the trees, and I was keen to start our hike. Off to a good start for healing breathing.
We went to the visitor’s center to buy a map and learn whatever the park workers had to tell us. The excitement to get walking was building. As we were buying the map, the worker who was helping us warned us about the presence of bears in the park. I, who grew up fearful, immediately became fearful. I tried to pretend that I was not, but inside I felt frightened. On the hike, my family wanted to stray from the populated paths and walk in the more interesting areas. At first I agreed, but the fear nagged at me. I did enjoy the magnificent trees and I did feel SO grateful to be there, but the fear kept encroaching on my happiness. After we met up with other hikers who had spotted a bear in the distance, I urged my family to go back to a less secluded path. I kept my fear to myself because they were having such a wonderful time, but it remained my constant companion until we were back on the way with the masses. From that point on, I relaxed and enjoyed the wonderful green world around me.
My fearful existence during that hike did not contribute to my good health. The fear was too strong for the circumstances. The others in my family experienced the healing breathing that accompanies connection to nature.
Being in nature should be nourishing, not the opposite. Nature is here as our healing space, if only we can see that. We receive much, much more than we realize when we connect to all that nature has to offer. (I wish I had known that at Sequoia before I let myself give way to old fears. These days, I am more accepting of the uncertainty that comes with walking in the woods.)
That’s it for now. We’ll continue to explore breathing in one more post.