Hold your horses; There is a call to get back to nature

The cavalry commander leads a company of horses and their rider-soldiers for a campaign when all at once he alerts them against some danger, and he shouts, Hold your horses, meaning Halt.

I have used the headline like this to alert the frazzled people, worn out and hassled, to come out of their fiendish cocoon of all burdens, and find solace in the bosom of Mother Nature.

William Wordsworth had held nature dear to his heart as the ‘guide, guardian and soul of all my moral being”, to take care of all-round well-being, physical, mental and spiritual.

Mahatma Gandhi had immense faith in natural remedies, for example, he had practised mud therapy for various ailments, in addition to meditation for securing inner peace.

The tonic of the wilderness was Henry David Thoreau’s classic prescription for civilization and its discontents, offered in the 1854 essay ‘Walden: Or, Life in the Woods’. Now there is scientific evidence supporting eco-therapy. The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of well-being.

Wellness is nature’s gift to fortify strength and stamina; It is bulwark against festering ailments.

When we are in harmony with nature, we will be provided with the gifts of nature, so goes the saying.

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,

The earth, and every common sight,

To me did seem

Apparelled in celestial light,

The glory and the freshness of a dream.

That was the insight of Wordsworth on nature saying it is mighty philosopher and seer blest.

Myriad are the ways for mortal men to rejuvenate themselves while being trapped in worries, stress, strain and depression. Take a break, go to the sea-side, walk along a stream, river and what not. Relaxation comes naturally.

Time is like a river, you cannot touch the same water twice because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of your life, which should not be wasted away ruminating on all the accumulated woes. Worrying is wasting energy on the things you can’t control, leave everything in God’s mighty hand.

Also one should learn from life that arrogance can unmake many things you make. One has to be confident enough to be humble.

Remember violence in thoughts is as injurious as violence in deeds.

All these points hinge on the essence of well-being, meaning wellness is actually a state of the mind and the spirit.

We know that life is endless struggling and if you stop struggling you are finished. Struggling does not mean that we should lose sight of rest and relaxation through all available means.

John Milton has described Satan this way in Paradise Lost, Hell follows him wherever he goes, Satan is actually the embodiment of Hell.

Which means our state of mind can bring us close to Hell, if we are immersed in evil thoughts and evil deeds, so stay away and ensure your wellness. The evil would be tempting us, tormenting us, but we should not succumb to thoughtless manoeuvres, for which conscious efforts should be made to keep our mind in leash, equanimity and well-being.

Have you ever thought that rearing pets of all sorts would render relief to the mind and soul? Could be a dog, a cat, a parrot, fish in a small home aquarium, or a cow or goat in the rural setting. Tending to them would be harmonious. Not only human beings, but all the sentient beings (responding to a sense of touch) return the graces offered to them.

In the hot summer, try a little bit of gardening, have a sense of satisfaction watching the gradual growth of the plants in the nursery sprouting fresh leaves each day. While watering the plants you can watch the foliage turning to your side for receiving a little more shower from your sprinkler. They also respond positively.

Treat others like you want to be treated, if someone treats you like crap, just remember that there is something wrong with them, not you. Normal people don’t go around destroying other human beings. And don’t waste your time trying to impress others.

Also you can render some Acts of Random Kindness (ARK) to the hapless people and observe their enjoyment, satiety. Reference: Evan Almighty starring Morgan Freeman as God Almighty.

These, along with  forms of meditation, including indulgence in Yoga practice, are all meant for the mind and the spirit, but physical well-being can also be thought of, taking a cue from the age-old Ayurveda stream.

Massage, ‘kayakalpa’ procedure, panchakarma and the like help to remove the vitiating factors and detoxify your system. These are far advanced than in procedures provided by other alternative streams like Unani  and Siddha.(these definitely have their own strengths) Ayurveda offers a state of well-being, bereft of sickness.

Those coming from abroad for wellness treatment are surely health conscious and their needs could be met by standardizing various procedures in Ayurveda and strictly following the norms fixed by sages of yore.

A little more about forest bathing would be apt, it seems.

Forest bathing—basically just being in the presence of trees—became part of a national public health program in Japan in 1982 when the forestry ministry coined the phrase shinrin-yoku and promoted topiary as therapy.

Nature appreciation—picnicking en masse under the cherry blossoms, for example—is a national pastime in Japan, so forest bathing quickly took a turn for the better.

The environment’s wisdom has long been evident to the culture:

Just be with trees. No hiking, no counting steps on a Fitbit. You can sit or meander, but the point is to relax rather than accomplish anything.

Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better—inhaling phytoncide seems to actually improve immune system function, according to forest bathing literature.

From 2004 to 2012, Japanese officials spent about $4 million dollars studying the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing, designating 48 therapy trails based on the results.

City dwellers can benefit from the effects of trees with just a visit to the park. Brief exposure to greenery in urban environments can relieve stress levels, and experts have recommended “doses of nature” as part of treatment of attention disorders in children. What all of this evidence suggests is we don’t seem to need a lot of exposure to gain from nature—but regular contact appears to improve our immune system function and our well-being.

I cannot but quote from Wordsworth’s Daffodils, watching which the poet relaxes in raptures.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden Daffodils;
Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:-
A Poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

One can even enjoy nature’s bounty in the mind’s eye, far away from actual locations. Let us all try to remain one with nature and ensure our composure and well-being…

By O.J.George


Consulting Editor

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