Nature does have a big impact on our health and healing, but why?
As modern research and ancient practices reveal, exposure to nature can contribute to human healing on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels. Equally, human beings touched by the healing power of nature want to protect and heal nature.
Many words and phrases are used throughout the world to describe the healing power of nature. We are using the term pant based wisdom.
The Biophilia Hypothesis, by E.O. Wilson, suggests an answer: because human beings evolved in nature, they are intimately connected to nature. Physically, we are, like all life forms, chemically related to the Earth, and the Earth is hard-wired into our chemistry.
We are also soft-wired to care for the Earth as the Earth cares for us. The term biophilia literally means “love” (philia) of life or living systems (bio.) The term philia comes from the Greek definition of love, which consists of three aspects: eros, philia, and agape.
These three aspects of love are found in many aspects of the human/nature interaction and offer an interesting way to view the connection.
Nature elevates our wellbeing by providing an astonishing range of experiences for our senses—a smorgasbord of sounds, tastes, smells, touches, and visual riches. We are particularly responsive to the beauty we find in nature.
Have you ever felt so close to a pet, plant, or place in nature that they are almost like family?
If so, you have experienced philia. This was originally defined as brotherly or sisterly love, but Aristotle expanded it to include love that is shared between lifelong friends, colleagues who have worked together for years, parents and children—those whose relationship is characterized by deep love.
Philia establishes our sense of belonging. Through our love, nature reminds us that we belong to life, and we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.
Agape is the most universal of the Greek concepts of love. It suggests a nourishing, timeless, soul-to-soul connection. Nature can provide a window into the cycles of eternity. Agape love transcends the normal boundaries between species, places, or objects and provides us with a glimpse of the divine.
If we go back to the basics, doesn’t it make sense that nature would provide us with all that we need to maintain healthy and vital lives?
Of course it does. We have a powerhouse of plants on this planet with healing properties for our bodies.
Let’s look to nature for our health and vitality.