Looking out to look in

There is a lot going around at the moment about the benefits that nature can have on our mental health. It makes sense – as beings of the Earth, our souls are happiest when in their oldest, natural environment.

But why is this? Obviously the sound of birdsong and ocean waves is nice to listen to. But is there also something deeper, something that we unconsciously connect to – patterns, cycles, rhythms…

Much of what we see in nature is reminiscent of the ups, downs and experiences we have in our own lives. Birth, death, change, joy, fear, perseverance, luck, success, failure – it’s all there in nature.

Maybe looking outside can help us to understand what we see when we look in??

We may go through all four seasons within our minds in just a single day, and yet we rarely soothe ourselves in our own winters; a glance out of the window can remind us that frost will melt and new spring buds will appear.

Nature can be cruel and devastating. So can our human lives. We do not live in fear of being eaten, but we do have our own demons to contend with. Nevertheless, even after great trauma, nature recovers. New shoots appear in the wake of a devastating wildfire, classic predator-prey models show that imbalances in species numbers are always ironed out. Life always finds a way. Equilibrium is always restored.

Nature can help us better understand, even if on an unconscious level, some truths of life – impermanence, beauty, sacrifice, hope. Life in all its quirks and nuances is happening around us all the time. Perhaps sometimes it can help to remember use the window to the outside world as a mirror as well as just a pane of glass.

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