Bradly Rozairo OMI – These days as the lockdown continues in many places, people are being urged to connect with nature so that it will be beneficial to both their physical and mental health. Whether there is a pandemic or not, I think that being in touch with nature makes one healthier.
When I was home in Sri Lanka on vacation, every morning after I brushed my teeth I would walk in our garden and stop for a few minutes under a tree. Why? Because I felt that, especially in the morning when I stood under a tree for some time, I received a lot of energy and it helped me to begin the day. Also, when one lives in a hot and humid climate, trees give shelter and make one relax as the temperature goes up. One of the things that I enjoyed most at home was to sit under a mango tree and experience a nice breeze. Connecting with nature made me feel happier and put me in a mood to carry out daily tasks with a lot of enthusiasm and energy.
Nature is fundamentally linked to our spirituality. Some may find that their spiritual life is connected to their association with a temple, mosque, or church. Others may seek meaning through their connections to nature. I am reminded of my Novitiate in Sri Lanka (look at a few pictures below). It’s a beautiful house surrounded by natural beauty and is located in the ‘hill country’ of Sri Lanka. The one-year period I spent at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in a relaxed atmosphere gave me time to connect with nature. One of the cherished moments for me was my meditation in the garden. This was an important spiritual exercise not just to connect with nature, but also to experience God in nature. Taking some quiet time to be in touch with nature also helped rejuvenate my mind and body.
Today we live in a modern world and are connected more to our man-made devices than nature. Technology carries some wonderful benefits but it appears that we have not yet learned how to use them with responsibility. The unhealthy attachment to the gadgets is making us blind to the beautiful things God has created, and as a result, we get disconnected from nature. Therefore, while we enjoy the benefits of modern technology, let us also learn to slow down and take time to connect with God’s creation.
Let me end this with a quote by Dr Jason Strauss, Director of geriatric psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance.
“Many men are at higher risk for mood disorders as they age, from dealing with sudden life changes like health issues, the loss of loved ones, and even the new world of retirement. They may not want to turn to medication or therapy for help, and for many, interacting with nature is one of the best self-improvement tools they can use.”