Where is nature? on the outside and the inside

Posted by Costanza Travaglia
July 12, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

When I think of nature I usually think of that which is `out there`, the wild, the unknown, or simply as that green and peaceful scenario which serves as background of our unceasing daily activities and human affairs – often it is a place of desire, associated with a longed-for feeling of escape, of an outer and inner rest. Well, of course, that is subjective, or cultural, or both I guess.

Today, probably more than ever, we need this idea(l) of `pure` nature to counterbalance a kind of lifestyle which leaves little space for that which is `out there`, namely for our natural environment, as well as for that which is the deepest and most pristine part of us, `our nature`. But these words are over-cooked by now, and one can get confused by publicitary panels and pseudo-spiritualist farces that make you lose track on the way.

But, no matter how we want to define or grasp or sell the idea of `nature`, eventually we are in it, we ourselves are nature. Those four, or five, elements – whether you want to adopt a `western` or an `Indian` categorization of earth, water, air, fire, and ether – are as much `out there` as within our bodies, our minds, our subtlest idea and perception of the natural self.

Without bringing out doshas, prakrti, purusha, gunas, ahamkara, samskaras or any other sanskrit term which would deserve a wider range of cultural and philosophical references, one can say that everything we are, whatever we think, feel or do, reflects and consists of basically that essential masala of elements and `energies` which constitute our intimate nature – and eventually nature in its broadest sense. Mankind has created sciences, washing machines, wi-fi, bluetooth, e-books, highways, androids and posthuman lullabies as symptoms and products of a certain `degree` of intelligence, a certain skill with the world.

Yes, but what lies behind, or inside, or beyond all those mechanisms and inner laws that make the world with its paraphernalia actually work? To make it simply, I say there lies nature, in its smug and smiling throne, looking and directing the rules and laws of its play as only a wise and distant god can do.

While travelling through different places in India – mostly yoga ashrams, nature cure clinics, cities and parks and mountains, I talked to people, patients, villagers, and friends, to see what for them the idea of `nature` actually means. I heard different and similar stories, told in different but similar voices. “Nature is mother“, was one of my favourites. Many times I was told that what we call nature is very close to, to put it simply, truth. Well, that makes it all easier then. And eventually, as I happened to hear repeatedly, this `truth` boils down to being one and the same with the concept of `god` in its widest and most powerful sense.

“When you use it it`s nature, when you worship it it`s god“. Thank you, gentle sir with your convincing smile sitting on a wooden bench in the garden of that lovely clinic. I hope that this invisible and healing power reposing within our bodies is properly connected to the uparwala`s wi-fi connection. Because if well-being means truth, and the truth is god, and all that means nature – well, then l do think that we should take more care of and be more grateful to this precious power of life, and for once allow ourselves to fully and greatly live in our fully and great nature.

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