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Deepening Your Spirituality in Nature

In ancient times, in tribes such as those of the ancient Anangu of Australia, the importance of nature to the spirituality of human beings, was unquestionable. The Anangu believe that all life was created during The Dreamtime: animals, river, seas, rivers, trees. Natural wonders such as the scarlet red Uluru in modern day Australia’s Northern Territory, were not only important because of the practical things they brought to human life, but also because of their spiritual significance.

Uluru may be a geological wonder to most tourists, but it is a sacred place to the Anangu people, surrounded in secrecy and telling many stories that cannot be shared with just anyone. The vast difference between how the Anangu and tourists view and treat natural wonders begs us to ask the question: can we, like this ancient people, deepen our spirituality by enjoying a retreat in nature?

Nature Matters

Many modern psychologists have argued for the importance of embracing nature in our daily lives. Some American theorists argue that the modern addiction to technology, the sedentary lifestyle, and the vast number of hours we spend indoors, have caused us to break our important relationship with nature in a dramatic fashion. The result, they say, is everything from a feeling of isolation, to lack of focus, and growing levels of stress and anxiety.

Carl Jung and the Collective Unconscious

Carl Jung also espoused the importance of spending time in nature. He noted that human beings don’t only have an individual conscience; they are also part of a ‘collective unconscious’; a higher power that connects all sentient things. He felt that beautiful land and ocean forms were powerful symbols of our rich interior world. By viewing them in person, we received a powerful reminder that we are connected to each other. City life made us feel small and alone, said Jung, nature enable us to appreciate our own beauty and significance.

The Popularity of Nature Retreats

Forbes notes that many tourists are foregoing crowded city destinations in favour of holidays that enrich them culturally and spiritually. For this reason, nature and adventure holidays are growing in popularity, especially among meaning-focused millennials. From organised yoga and meditation treats right through to seaside wellness getaways, log cabins and camping vacations, and sports like mountain climbing and canyoning, savvy tourists are seeking to battle stress by heading to wide open spaces that whiz the mind into ‘the spectacular now’.

Nature’s Effect on Stress

There is indeed something awe inspiring about gazing out at misty mountain ranges or a pristine sea at sunset. It is no wonder that so many spiritual gatherings and musical events are held in natural areas. Studies have shown that nature does more than make us feel we are in the presence of something greater than ourselves. It also lowers levels of stress hormone, cortisol, which when present at chronically high levels can trigger anxiety and depression. Thus, in addition to honing our spirituality, a nature escape or retreat can also make us happier and calmer – these in turn can aid us pursue a rich spiritual life.

If you feel like you can’t keep up with so many of life’s conflicting demands, taking time to connect with your spiritual side can benefit your health in many ways. By doing so in a natural setting, you can instantly be whizzed into a more tranquil, mindful state, which will help you embrace spiritual pursuits like yoga and meditation. Nature escapes don’t just have to be about contemplation, of course. Meld into nature by having fun in its most beautiful settings. Paddle away over a crystalline sea, climb up a rocky mountain, or parasail above a white sand beach. It is only in nature that excitement and peace can co-exist so effortlessly.

Jane Sandwood