This section on nature as medicine will remind you of the innate knowledge that deeply connects nature and us as one; that we must plug into this connection to fuel our health and longevity.
“Human use, population, and technology have reached that certain stage where mother Earth no longer accepts our presence with silence.”7
— Dalai Lama XIV —
In 1979 a teenage boy in northeast India single-handedly began a conservation legacy that the whole world would come to admire. One day after a storm, the young Jadav Payeng came across dozens of dead snakes on a barren sandbar along his island home of Majuli on the Brahmaputra River.
The snakes had been washed ashore in the squall and subsequently died from exposure on the harsh eroded expanse of shoreline. His home was constantly under threat of disappearing due to soil erosion along its riverbanks from the effects of deforestation and severe flooding.
Payeng’s compassion for the snakes and his distress at the cause of their suffering motivated him to plant 20 bamboo shoots along the deserted shore. Every day he planted more trees, bringing in seeds from the outer forest until the plantings on the sandbar reached maturity to germinate themselves.
For forty years, Jadav Payeng has been planting trees along his island in the Brahmaputra River. He has become known as The Forest Man of India because his dedication has created an incredible forest reserve covering 1,360 acres!1
The forest even attracts Bengal tigers, rhinos, deer, and a seasonal herd of elephants that come to birth their calves. Today he is extending his forest project into other degraded areas of the island region.
Payeng has become a shining example all over the world, how one person’s committed actions can mitigate the actions of many.
Today he says the forest feels like his family—what an amazing connection with nature.
WE ARE NATURE
We are not separate. The elements in the soil, the plants, the oceans and even the stars are the very same elemental building blocks that make up our human body. Somewhere along life’s beautiful and chaotic journey, we collectively lost our way. We have forgotten that the natural world is our primary life support system, nourishing us with every breath of air, every sip of water, every bite of food and every ray of sunlight. We have forgotten that nature is our foundational medicine. Not complementary or alternative; foundational.
Nature designed the human body and its systems to perfection.
This chapter will remind you of the innate knowledge that deeply connects nature and us as one; that we must plug into this connection to fuel our health and longevity. The symptoms, signals, dysfunctions and diseases that plague the modern human being are a reflection of our current disconnection from the natural world, from our biological support system. We built empires, concrete jungles and modern lifestyles at great expense to our health and the natural world. And now we are paying the price.
We are drowning in isolation in concrete cities, swamped by technology at every turn, breathing air fouled by pollution, and swimming in oceans and rivers that make you feel dirtier coming out than when you went in. The sooner we start reconnecting and nourishing the natural environments that support us, the sooner our health and wellbeing will elevate and our human potential will be truly ignited.
To understand how Nature is Medicine, let’s consciously link ourselves back to nature—right now! Take a deep breath and feel the oxygen saturate your lungs, flooding your bloodstream with life force. It is from nature that the elemental building block of oxygen ignites life, healing and regeneration within every cell of our human body.
I felt this first hand when I was rebuilding my health; every moment I spent in nature left me feeling better than when I’d arrived. We are designed to renew and replenish from the stocks of nature.
Though we are interconnected as one giant web of life, nature can survive just fine without us. However, humans cannot survive without nature. We must maintain our support system. If we can build and co-create environments that are integrated with the natural world then we can learn to thrive together in balance with nature, not separate from it. When we live in harmony and connection with the natural world and allow for regeneration of what we consume, then both nature and humans can thrive. Let’s begin.
CALL TO ACTION
Spend 90 minutes in nature.
You can use the 30/30/30 rule but I encourage you to simply start wherever you can. Even 30 minutes per day is great! You’ll feel a cascade effect of wanting more which will motivate you to make time for it!
This is directly referenced from the amazon best-selling SelfCare Book "Lifestyle Medicine For the People" by Rory Callaghan. If you would like to read more content like this. Grab the free online chapters of the book or a hard copy.
We have done our best to reference everyone’s expert opinions, peer-reviewed science, and original thoughts, all references available here and referenced in the text.
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