Thursday, December 06, 2007

Connect with nature everyday

Lately I've had my window open. The weather is absolutely gorgeous! Everyday, I pull the curtains aside and watch the birds on the trees right outside my window. I can hear them chirping throughout the day, a very welcoming distraction when I'm working.

It's really important to have a direct connection with nature every day of your life. The signs of Allah (swt) are manifest in his creations in a much better way than they are in the creations by humans.
And every time I venture out into the desert, I try to imagine the serenity and peace our Prophet (pbuh) and his companions experienced when they would spend time alone. I appreciate the desert more each day.

It’s easy to go several months without ever touching the earth, as most of our activities involve walking on pavement as we move from home to car to office to grocery store and back again. When was the last time you sat down on the ground or touched the earth in some way?

I feel quite sad when I see people overloading themselves with painkillers for a headache or any type of pain. Our lifestyles are harming us, and we don't even realise because time just flies. We have stopped breathing. And something as simple as breathing can solve a lot of problems.

Physical contact with soil, natural waters, sunlight, and fresh air is healing. When stress has built up to the danger point, a trip to the ocean or mountains, or even a walk around the block, is often all you need to restore perspective. Beyond that, contact with nature keeps you apprised of your place in the ecological system. Many of nature’s forces are stronger than an individual human, just as many species are more vulnerable than humankind. This humbling perspective keeps the big picture in mind.

You need to remember that your true environment is far more than just the stimulation and context of your relationships, ambitions, career, family, home and so on.

Start Today
Here are some simple ways to connect with nature again:

  • Go barefoot. Feel the grass or the gravel or the hard-packed earth under your feet. Wade in a rain puddle, or walk barefoot in the snow for a new sensation!
  • Grow plants or flowers and let your fingers touch the earth.
  • Keep living green plants and flowers around your house.
  • Get outdoors, if only for a few moments a day. Let the sunlight touch you and warm you. In the heart of a city, it is still possible to find green zones.
  • Listen to the sounds of nature—the wind blowing, rain falling, birds chirping—even in the midst of an urban environment.
  • Prepare your meals using fresh and raw foods whenever possible, or bake your own bread. Carefully handling the fruits of the field reminds you of your connection to the earth.
  • Practice the Native American way of adapting yourself to nature, rather than trying to make nature adapt to you. For example, avoid dependency on air-conditioning in hot weather. In cold weather, keep the heat in your home at 68°F (20°C) or lower.
  • When you are around young children, use language that communicates a healthy respect for the power of nature and a sense of awe at its beauty and mystery. Avoid teaching them that soil is dirty or that any creatures (even so-called vermin) are bad.
  • Exercise outdoors as much as possible. Take a hike. Go for a bike ride instead of driving your car to the corner store. Rollerblade in the park, or get a group of friends together for a ball game or a kite-flying party.
  • Plan your vacations for maximum enjoyment of the outdoors (with minimal environmental impact). Even a one-day family trip with a picnic can be a tremendously healthy break in your normal routine.

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