“All forms of artistic beauty can touch our hearts, as can nature. Why are we so drawn to beautiful sunsets and sunrises? When nature paints glorious images on the canvas of the sky, are we not reborn in some way?” - The Rose and the Sword by Judith Bach and Nanette V. Hucknall
* * *
Have you ever felt tired, withdrawn, or perhaps anxious when working in an indoor office, one that is likely cramped and dark - only to feel refreshed after stepping outside? Or have you found that a trip to the beach or a hike through a park awarded you feelings of calmness and clarity during a period of overwhelm?
This is no coincidence - there have been many scientific studies throughout the years that have proven how connected we are with nature. These positive feelings are actually created by nature’s vibrations, an ancient wisdom that allows us to connect with our hearts and ultimately awaken the Higher Self.
While there's no denying the cleansing effects of a long hike or walk in the woods, you don't need to spend an entire day outside to reap the benefits. Just as in meditation or exercise, it's more important to establish a regular habit in order to feel the long-term benefits. In other words, 15 minutes a day of exercise, meditation, or time spent outside will be far more effective than a single long, 2-hour session one day a week.
As simple as the concept of spending time in nature may seem on the surface, there's much more to the meaning of nature’s beauty and the way we can use its ancient wisdom to further our own spiritual journeys.
Nature's Unique Vibrations
Did you know that not only does nature have its own unique vibrations, but that these vibrations can also have a positive effect on your own sound? Walking in nature can have a very cleansing effect on any negative words that you speak, especially if they have been spoken in a closed space.
For example, if an argument arises with a loved one or coworker, go for a walk afterward and just sit in nature. Doing so not only helps to release the negative vibrations from your own body and spirit, but also welcomes positive vibrations from the natural wisdom that surrounds you. Connecting to the Higher Self through nature is purifying, and will help you to form a new perspective and a better way to handle any adverse situation. By listening to nature, we also become more skilled at listening to others.
How can you feel nature’s vibrations on a tangible level? When you come across a tree or a body of water, place your hand on it or in it, and ask the Higher Self to reveal its vibrations to you. You will find that everything, from a flower to a rock, will have a different vibration, further differentiated by its age and experience. For example, a tree that grows in a colder climate will have a different vibration than one grown in the sun.
No matter how much time you spend in nature, nursing a negative attitude will only create roadblocks when you attempt to absorb the vibrations. So take care to maintain positivity; by doing so, you will fully reap the benefits of nature’s ancient wisdom, allowing you to align yourself even more closely to your Higher Self.
The Importance of the Sun
Looking at the sun may cause you to squint at first, but standing in it and feeling its warmth on your skin has the power to brighten even the darkest mood. There’s really nothing more rejuvenating than a day at the beach, lying in the sun. For this reason, sunny destinations such as Florida are popular for retirement - warmth and sunlight become even more important as we age. Countries that have little sunlight, especially in the colder months, have a higher rate of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and even suicide. SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is very real and can be detrimental to the mental health of those affected. If you suffer from SAD or live in an area that receives little sunlight, try incorporating light therapy into your day with a sun lamp. And when sunny days do come about, take advantage of them and head outside, even if it's only for a short period of time.
There are ancient wisdom practices that worshipped nature, with the sun being the most powerful deity. These practices recognized the power and energy to be derived from the light source, not just for plants and animals, but for us as well. Science has yet to really form a good grasp of the ways the sun’s potent energy affects us. Scientists have determined that our bodies are made up of water and mass, but they are missing the third crucial element - light.
This light energy warms our hearts, connecting us to the spirit, the subtle body, and the Higher Self. All energy, whether from nature or not, can ultimately be traced back to the Source. Try this exercise from Higher Self Yoga, Book Two to help you utilize the sun to connect with the Higher Self:
“Take half an hour to sit in the sun. Cover your head and always wear some suntan lotion. As best you can, feel the sun’s warmth coming into your body. Experience it flowing into your heart, through all your limbs, through your stomach, etc. Really concentrate on the sun’s energy permeating your body. Sun energy is very calming and relaxing. When you experience it, do so with an open heart and mind, and try not to think about anything; simply experience the warmth of the sun. You aren’t meditating, but just staying with the warmth of the energy and the feeling of your body. This can be very healing, especially if you are tired and under any stress.” - Higher Self Yoga, Book Two, by Nanette V. Hucknall pg. 149
How Nature and the Heart Work Together
The heart plays a very crucial role in our ability to connect to nature. As the gateway to the Higher Self, the heart has the ability to see, listen, and accept nature’s beauty and wisdom; therefore, becoming in tune with your heart will help you to engage with nature and vice versa. Prioritize spending time outdoors, and by doing so you will come to a greater understanding of things that might have previously stumped you. Your problem-solving skills will be sharpened and your creativity will flow, all because of the heart’s important connection to nature.
Using the heart in nature extends beyond just spending time outdoors and enjoying what it has to offer. It also includes taking the initiative to protect our beautiful environment from destruction. We have certainly done our fair share of harm through cutting down forests, polluting the oceans, and other destructive actions. It's important that we step in and do something about it before the beauty of nature is lost and future generations will not be able to experience what we do. If the Higher Self is compelling you to make a change, then follow that calling. Every step counts, no matter how small. After all, there is a saying in the East:
“If I had a dollar, I would spend fifty cents for a loaf of bread to feed my body and fifty cents for a flower to feed my soul.”
Nature and The Higher Self
Here are two exercises from How to Live from Your Heart by Nanette V. Hucknall, the founder of Higher Self Yoga. The first will help you connect to nature using the heart, and the second will help you ask the Higher Self to reveal to you your role in protecting the beauty of nature.
“Pick a plant, a flower, a tree or anything that you feel is very beautiful. Sit down in front of it, connect with your heart, and then send your heart energy to the nature spirit in it. As you send the energy, ask the spirit if you may communicate with it. If your heart has a good response, then stay with the form you have chosen. If you feel nothing in your heart, or even a resistance in it, then choose some other form… If you feel a response, tell the nature spirit that you feel it is very beautiful… then ask if it would tell you something about itself. You may suddenly have a thought come into your mind… If you are not certain that what you receive is correct and not made up, tell the nature spirit what you received and ask it to show you a response that this was correct. A proper response would be that a leaf or a flower may move even though no wind is present, or you may suddenly feel warmth in your heart.” - How to Live from Your Heart by Nanette V. Hucknall, pg. 234
“Ask your Higher Self: How can I use my heart to better understand the evolution of this planet? Is there anything I need to do to help in that evolution in any way? Take both answers and ask for a process and a first step in doing this.” - How to Live from Your Heart by Nanette V. Hucknall, pg, 246
For those of us who live and work in the city, spending time in nature can be a challenge - but it is absolutely essential, particularly for the beginner seeker. As a new student, the ability to enjoy fresh air and see the beauty in nature is crucial for spiritual development. Spending the majority of your time around buildings and cars rather than trees and flowers can facilitate chaos instead of tranquility, and those negative, chaotic vibrations can be overwhelming and affect your spiritual practice to the point of becoming frustrated and discouraged.
You can combat this environmental effect and facilitate positive vibrations by burning incense or sage, or by using essential oil diffusers to burn ayurvedic oils such as lavender and camphor. If you have access to a park, visit as often as possible. Make it a priority to take weekend trips to areas of nature. You can also buy plants and flowers for your home. Just the act of nurturing them will help you to appreciate their beauty, and if you cannot spend time in nature outside, sit in the presence of your plants at home and absorb their vibrations.
15 Minutes a Day
Most of us lead busy, full lives, and it can be easy to put off spending time in nature by making excuses such as “I have too much work to do today” or “I’ll do it tomorrow”. But all you need is 15 minutes, and you will reap tenfold the benefits. So no matter how busy you are, take the time to be aware of and revel in the beauty in nature. You will return to your work feeling energized, refreshed, calm, and ultimately more connected to the Higher Self.