Surrounded by nature here on Jeju Island — and the elements in exaggeration, I am ever more keenly aware of the power of the natural world on our spirits. Psychological research tells us that a direct and regular connection with nature enables us to live longer and healthier lives. Traditional medical systems have always been closely tied to the natural world. Spiritual traditions of indigenous peoples around the globe typically looked to nature for inspiration — a lovely word which refers to breathing as well as creative impetus.
It’s a misnomer, really, to speak of our ‘going out in nature’ or ‘enjoying nature’; humans are as much a part of the natural world as any other species, not above or separate from it. Herein lies our greatest ill, that modern civilization as we know it has so divorced us from our one true element. We are nature. Nature is us.
The more we embody this reality, the more deeply we connect to the world around us, to one another, and to our inner selves. And this — connectedness — is the ultimate underpinning of health in all aspects: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.