It is as natural as the sun’s rising and setting for me to look for the wisdom of nature. It can be found everywhere if we only take the time to look around. Things like a blooming flower, the tree’s resilience in weathering a storm, and the changing seasons. These natural occurrences all contain lessons to enrich our lives. My blog post explores the concept of finding wisdom in nature and drawing parallels between the cycles of the natural world and our human experiences.
Applying The Wisdom of Nature to The Human Experience.
Nature moves like a wheel with its constant cycles, and like many pagans, I follow the wheel of the year. It is an annual cycle of festivals marked by the equinoxes and solstices. We celebrate various points on the wheel, such as Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lammas. All the points on the wheel are equally important because the wheel represents not only the festivals but also the natural rhythms we experience. Consider the changing seasons—an ongoing annual procession from spring blooms to winter introspection. We can see our journey if we look closely enough during the changing seasons. Every season brings its unique gifts.
The Wisdom of Nature in The Seasons of Change
In the spring, the world awakens from its long winter slumber. Trees bud with new growth, delicate flowers open their petals, and the air is filled with the sweet scent of blossoms. The world is reborn in a riot of colour and sound as birds chirp and sing while darting from tree to tree, and gentle rains wash away the last of winter.
In the summer, the world is ablaze with life and energy. The sun beats down upon the earth, warming with its golden glow. Fields of wheat sway in the breeze, and wildflowers dance in the meadows. The long, warm days invite us outside under the starry skies.
In Autumn, the world prepares for its long sleep. The leaves on the trees turn a fiery red, orange, and gold and fall softly to the ground. The air grows crisp and chilly while pumpkins decorate many homes. Harvest festivals celebrate the earth’s bounty, and we gather with loved ones to share the season’s warmth.
In the winter, the world is calm and still. Snow blankets the earth in a soft white silence, and the trees stand bare and stark against the sky. The air is cold and biting, but we huddle together for warmth around the hearth. We reflect on the year gone by and make plans for the new one to come, even as we rest in the quiet stillness of the season.
Living In Alignment With The Wisdom of Nature
Living life in alignment with the natural world is a life-changing experience. Observing the rising and setting sun, you’ll see how it corresponds to the ups and downs of your energy. How intimately connected our lives are to the ebb and flow of nature. For instance, the rain is no longer a nuisance to be complained about but rather an opportunity to appreciate its cleansing properties. A symbolic significance in our lives. To illustrate this point, I recall when I walked in the rain. Instead of complaining about forgetting my umbrella, I felt my frustrations wash away with each drop. At that moment, I felt alive with the water on my face. I thought about how happy plants, trees, and wildlife must feel for this drink and the chance for a bath.
Using sensory details, such as the sound of rain hitting the leaves and the earth and the feel of the raindrops on my skin, I could fully immerse myself in the experience and appreciate its beauty. The smell of the wet soil added to the experience, making it all the more memorable.
The Rhythms Of Nature
Natural cycles govern everything around us, from the migration patterns of birds and animals to the ebb and flow of the tides. These cycles are so ingrained in certain species that they instinctively know when to move or adapt. For instance, the Swallow or House Martins migrate to different locations during specific seasons. Every migratory journey comes with huge risks, such as risk from predators or starvation. Some journeys are immense, and the fatigue can make birds vulnerable to predators. But even with those risks attached, birds prepare and journey to warmer climes when food availability in the northern hemisphere is scarce. This enables them to breed and survive. They navigate using the sun, the stars, the Earth’s magnetic field, and their physical sense of smell.
Tides are affected by the moon’s pull, and our moods are, too. The moon causes high tides and low tides. Its gravitational pull creates something called the tidal force. The tidal force causes Earth and its water to bulge on the side closest to the moon and the farthest from it.
The more we look at these natural cycles, the more we see from this new perspective that governments and corporations do not govern life. Getting to this perspective means rising above the smog that currently envelopes humanity. This smog keeps many people chained to the illusion that life is nothing more than what the eye can see.
Societal Chains V Natural Cycles
Breaking free from societal illusions can be challenging, but one that is well worth the effort. One way to start is by questioning the information presented and trying to understand things from different perspectives. We must also reflect on our beliefs and values and identify any holding us back.
Another way to break free from societal illusions is to seek new experiences and explore the world. This could be travelling to new places, trying new foods, or engaging in new hobbies or activities. Expanding our horizons gives us new insights and perspectives, which can help us see the world more creatively and flexibly.
Once you break through these societal illusions, for example, living for the weekend, obeying authority, following science to a dogmatic level, watching too much TV and taking its word as the absolute truth. Then their shackles are dropped, and the magic and creativity of life become apparent. Breaking free requires a willingness to challenge the status quo and embrace new ways of thinking and being. It may not be easy, but by doing so, we can unlock the magic and creativity of life and begin to live a more fulfilling and authentic existence.
Seasons of Growth and Dormancy
Some of nature’s most essential cycles are growth, abundance, harvest, and dormancy. Similarly, human life also experiences seasons of personal growth, productivity, moments of achievement, and periods of rest or reflection. I’ve used some of these cycles to show how they can help us live our lives with greater understanding.
Adapting to Change
Nature adapts to environmental changes, and life always finds a way. Likewise, humans experience life changes, from career shifts to personal relationships. The ability to adjust and find our way through changes is one of many shared qualities between the natural world and our experiences.
Life’s Rhythms and Patterns
Nature follows rhythms and patterns, from the sun’s rising and setting to the moon’s cycles. Our lives also have rhythms, routines, and patterns. We tend to turn our backs on these cycles and become more focused on the clock and linear time. Understanding the importance of these natural and circadian rhythms helps us feel more balanced and harmonious throughout our daily lives.
Cycles of Challenges and Resilience
Nature constantly faces challenges such as storms and wildfires, yet it shows resilience and the ability to rebound. In the same way, human life encounters challenges, setbacks, and hardships. Therefore, understanding that challenges are part of a larger cycle of resilience and growth allows us to face difficulties with hope and determination.
Renewal and Transformation
Cycles of renewal and transformation are seen in the rebirth of spring or the regeneration after a forest fire. Similarly, human life experiences moments of renewal and transformation—whether through personal growth, overcoming adversity, or embracing new opportunities. In my experiences, I have found when feeling at my lowest, the greatest inspiration and ideas give us the strength to come back bigger and stronger than before.
Harvesting the Fruits
Nature’s cycles include the fruition of our efforts, such as the harvest of crops. To put it simply, you reap what you sow. In our lives, we experience this through the results of our endeavours, be it the attainment of personal goals, career achievements, or the realisation of dreams. Acknowledging and celebrating these harvest moments gives us a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment. Which, in turn, sows the seeds for future endeavours. Nature never rests on its laurels, and neither should we.
Embrace Change with Grace
The natural world accepts the inevitability of change and moves quickly between the seasons. We can learn from this and compare human life experiences. It allows us to accept change with grace and resilience, understanding that every phase contributes to our overall journey. Letting go of something feels scary and painful. But it is much more painful and damaging in the long run, trying to hold onto something that has come to a natural end. We have periods of reflection and rest to help us move on from one situation to the next.
Lessons from the Changing Seasons
For many, winter is often viewed as a cold and gloomy period, marked by a significant reduction in daylight hours that can impact individuals through Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) or the winter blues. Another contributing factor to this seasonal slump is the desire to maintain constant activity. Winter is perceived as a hindrance due to its cold, wet, and dark nature. This compels people to remain indoors, leading to restlessness, cabin fever and boredom.
Instead of fighting against the nature of winter, it is much healthier to accept this time for the gift it presents—an opportunity to slow down and reflect. Wintertime is a natural slowing down in the environment. Trees may appear dormant, but their roots undergo essential rest and rejuvenation beneath the surface. They are getting ready to burst forth in the vibrancy of spring.
Plants and animals retreat within themselves for a rest, yet many people often resist this crucial phase, seeing it as a sign of weakness. If we allow ourselves to follow suit – to rest and hibernate, indulge in introspection, explore new hobbies, and extend kindness to ourselves regarding the need for rest during this time of year – we could alleviate many of the symptoms commonly associated with winter blues.
Resilience in Adversity
Another lesson can be found in adaptability—observing how plants bend and sway with the wind rather than resisting it. The mighty oak tree weathering storms with its firm resolve. Its roots are deep in the ground, and it doesn’t fight the weather. Instead, it moves so its branches bend but never break when fierce winds surround it. Humans can also find strength in adapting to changing circumstances by being flexible in the face of challenges and changes rather than standing steadfast and rigid until something snaps. A river is always going with the flow. Because the moment it stays still for too long, it moves from its natural state and risks becoming stagnant.
The journey of a caterpillar into a butterfly teaches us about resilience and metamorphosis. Nature demonstrates that growth often emerges from struggle. The monarch butterfly and its incredible migratory journey demonstrate resilience through something so small traversing huge distances and different climates. We can also find strength in our ability to transform, learn, and evolve through challenges. Nature teaches us about the temporary nature of difficulties. Just as seasons change, so too shall adversities pass.
The Interconnectedness of All Things
The tiniest micro-organisms to the grandest of ecosystems all play a vital role in maintaining the equilibrium of the natural world. Consider the bees, pollinating flowers and supporting the growth of fruits and vegetables. Their interconnectedness with plants shows a connection where one species relies on another for survival. Bees are matchmakers, connecting the male and female reproductive parts of flowers and allowing them to produce seeds and fruit. It’s not just about the bees’ quest for sustenance. It demonstrates a collaboration where plants provide nourishment, and bees facilitate their reproduction. One can not exist without the other, and that is magical.
Or how about the oxpecker bird? That cheeky little ever-hungry bird spends its days sitting on the backs of rhinoceros, enjoying an all-you-can-eat feast of ticks and parasites. The rhinoceros receives a grooming service for graciously allowing the bird to feast on him. These mutually beneficial relationships are not quirks but are common occurrences in nature.
No Man Is An Island
We are not isolated entities; we are all connected to nature, and nature is connected to us. So when we inadvertently cut ourselves off from its source, we can become stressed and anxious.
Recognising our interconnectedness teaches us that survival depends on cooperation and symbiotic relationships. Human relationships thrive when we appreciate each other’s strengths and weaknesses instead of trying to do everything for ourselves. People are much more robust through collaboration and shared purpose. Being surrounded by people whose strengths complement our weaknesses gives us a better chance of success. Sometimes, people are too proud to accept help, seeing it as a weakness. But knowing when to accept help is a great strength.
Simplicity and Harmony
Many say they feel a sense of connectedness and beauty beyond words or understanding when walking in nature. Even the most ambitious business owner can’t help but feel humbled by the beauty of the simplicity of nature. Stop and look around and just be; then flashes of inspiration will come. Even answers to problems or a completely new idea out of the blue. Answers that you didn’t even know existed when you got out of bed that morning.
Letting go of everyday life and becoming one with it opens you up to hearing what your subconscious says. That is why ideas seem to come out of nowhere. Another reason is that you can become so relaxed that your nervous system becomes more attuned and accentuated. This allows you to connect with other streams of consciousness and spirit psychically. You start to become more mindful in your approach to living. Slowing your thinking and pace creates balance, inner peace and fulfilment.
Engaging with nature positively impacts your mental well-being and contributes to physical health by reducing blood pressure, cortisol, and adrenaline levels. Adrenaline serves a crucial role in moderation, aiding in fight-or-flight situations. However, the fast-paced nature of modern life often leads to a continuous release of adrenaline into the bloodstream. This constant activation can make people feel like tightly wound clocks or pressure cookers with faulty gaskets.
Mindfulness and Presence
Observing nature is an excellent mindfulness practice. Immerse yourself into the present and use your senses, quieten the mind, and feel that deep connection. The soft touch of a breeze and the earth’s scent after rain. Even the vibrant colours of flowers all contribute to a sensory experience that brings us into the present moment.
A flower doesn’t compare to another; a tree doesn’t worry about the changing seasons. This can teach us to adopt a non-judgmental awareness. Mindfulness also aligns us with the larger cosmic rhythms. Our connection to the vast universe reminds us we are part of a more extensive, timeless macro.
It also brings about gratitude and a source of joy and contentment. The mental chatter tends to quiet down, allowing us to escape from constant streams of thoughts. Nature holds many mysteries and wonders. It sparks the curiosity to explore a leaf’s details, a bird’s behaviour, or the patterns in a spider’s web. It gives our childlike curiosity centre stage for a playful date with the natural world.
Fear of Change
The fear of change and death are the two biggest fears that bring the heaviest anxiety to the human race. Observation of nature can help with the acceptance of impermanence—seasons change, flowers bloom and wither, and landscapes transform. Many humans struggle with the thought of impermanence, whether it is knowingly or not. An acknowledgement that change is an inherent part of life can bring a sense of peace and resilience.
What an invitation to slow down, attune ourselves to the rhythms of the Earth, and rediscover the simplicity and beauty in the present moment.
During our daily lives, it’s easy to overlook nature’s lessons and wisdom. The quiet of a sunrise, the rustle of leaves, or the flight of a butterfly, mindfulness and harmony are waiting. I encourage you to spend more time in nature. Be mindful of what you see and feel and learn from the wisdom it shares. Here are a few psychic hygiene suggestions to help you get reacquainted.
Embrace the Present Moment
Breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun’s warmth, or listen to the sound of the wind. In these simple yet deep experiences, you’ll be aware of the present moment.
Use Your Senses
Allow yourself to be fully present by using all your senses. See the vibrant colours of flowers. Listen to the melodies of birds, allowing this sensory experience of nature to ground you in the beauty of the present moment.
Cultivate Curiosity and Wonder
You can approach nature with the curiosity of a child. Explore the patterns on a leaf, the wonder of a tiny seed sprouting, and the awe of the interconnectedness of all living things. Rediscover that childlike joy of being inquisitive and fascinated by the world around you.
Learn From Impermanence
Nature’s ever-changing landscape teaches us about impermanence. Look at the cycles of growth, decay, and rebirth. Accept change as a natural part of life, and find peace in the understanding that, like nature, you are constantly changing.
Connect To The Earth’s Rhythms
Align yourself with the rhythms of the Earth. Take note of the changing seasons, notice the moon’s phases, and feel the planet’s pulse beneath your feet. Ground yourself for a sense of stability and balance.
Practice Mindful Breathing
Use nature to synchronise your breath. Inhale the fresh air, exhale any tension or worries.
Find Beauty in Simplicity
Appreciate the simplicity of a dewdrop on a leaf, the symmetry of a spider’s web, or the beauty of a single flower. Nature’s beauty is not only in significant landscapes but also in minor details that often go unnoticed. Work on an appreciation for simplicity and the small wonders around you.
Take a moment to express gratitude for the gifts of nature. It could be the shade of a tree on a hot day or the soothing sound of water. Gratitude transforms ordinary experiences into extraordinary gifts.
By spending more time observing and learning from the wisdom of nature, you open yourself to a world of mindfulness. Nature is not just a place to visit; it’s a teacher, a healer, and a source of creative inspiration for everyone.
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with finding wisdom in nature in the comments below. It’s a magical way to live and slows down that incredibly unsustainable fast pace of life that has become normal for so many in the modern world.
Here is a folklore story from the public domain that I adapted for my blog about the transition from autumn to winter. It’s called Prince Autumn
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