If you live and work in urban America, you are most likely stressed, over worked and overwhelmed by the commute in heavy traffic or crowded public transit, thus, your cluttered mind is hardly capable of seeing the beauty of nature surrounding you. In your busyness, have you ever stopped to notice a beautiful flower in a yard or unusual tree lining the street? Yet, it is what you are missing from nature that provides the solution to challenging times when your energy is low and needs recharging.
An occasional walk or concert in the park is more than relaxation and fun, it is healing and transformative. Our bond with nature is transcendent, as the most common denominator is nature’s ability to provide us with unseen vital elements for our physical and emotional stability. When we walk through the woods and smell fresh clean air, we feel good because it is, in fact, new oxygen. As we exhale carbon dioxide, green trees absorb it and release oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. Together with other foliage, nature creates enough oxygen to fill up one-fifth of the Earth’s atmosphere. When the world in which we live becomes volatile and full of fear, nature provides the sanctuary needed for enlightenment, deeper thinking and self-reflection that the office or home environment cannot mitigate.
The transcendentalist, philosopher and naturalist, Henry David Thoreau, was well known for taking refuge in nature. In his famous book ”Into the Woods” Thoreau desires to live his authentic self and reaches a transformative state by going into the woods sitting by Walden Pond, where he is assured of the rest, peace and stillness he needed for contemplation and self-discovery. The basic philosophy of the Transcendentalist movement in America during the late 1820s and 1830s was that we have knowledge about ourselves that transcends the five senses.
When we are in nature, emptying our minds of toxic thoughts, we are able to find peace. Answers to our questions and information is somehow downloaded and easily accessed as though a channel has opened for us to receive and translate information from a higher source. It is no coincidence that the great inventor and scientist, Nikola Tesla, came up with the diagram for the AC (alternating current) transmission of electricity while walking in a park reciting poetry or Buddha sat under a Bodhi tree where he attained enlightenment. In each case, being in nature somehow caused an epiphany warranting an evolutionary moment in space and time.
Painting by Wanda K. Whitaker
"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in."
- George Washington Carver
When we observe nature through a stronger lens, we discover new inventions that dramatically transform our lives, demonstrating further our inherent connection. It is no secret that botanist and inventor, George Washington Carver, had close relationships with the natural world. Carver is credited with making over 300 inventions from the peanut that revitalized the economy of the South. It is reported that he talked to plants that gave him messages. According to Ted Andrews author of Nature Speaks: Signs, Omens and Messages in Nature, the plant kingdom provides hidden messages and gives us signs that could assist us in our daily lives.
Today’s conscious movement can be regarded as an offspring of the earlier transcendental period. It has carved out a place for environmentalists, healers, worshippers of all religions, peace advocates, mindfulness enthusiasts, artists, students and many more to come together in global unity to transcend physical reality to reach a state of heightened awareness. Through activities such as tai chi, yoga and meditation, the conscious movement forges a relationship between our spiritual and physical bodies, encouraging us to live in harmony with nature, as it, too, is a part of the one God. It must be cared for and nurtured with the same rights as humans.
San Francisco Bay Area’s urban communities provide a host of green open spaces of natural habitat for inner space expansion and recreation. It’s landmark, Golden Gate Park, is considered one of our nation’s jewels, offering visitors a canopy of still lakes, botanical gardens, biking and walking paths and musical concerts to overcome a tireless week of labor. Here, one can experience solitude or participate in activities to rejuvenate the body and spirit. Of all the events to take place in the Park, Peace in the Park, is one of the best for reaching a state of wholeness and balance through diverse activities. What makes it even more special is that there is no admittance fee or fees for activities. The annual event takes place in the Golden Gate Park Music Concourse across from the DeYoung Museum offering a holistic approach to reach optimal emotional and physical health in a natural setting. Regardless of your age, religious association, gender expression, race or ethnicity, one can participate in activities that include nature walks, yoga, meditation, art and creativity, fun and games for children, music, exploration and education. The round table discussions and cutting edge speakers are informative and the food is natural and healthy. Produced by Brahma Kumaris, this year’s event promises to be fulfilling and fun for the entire family.
The 4th Annual Peace in the Park event takes place on Saturday, September 17, 2016 from 11:00am – 6:00pm at the Golden Gate Park Music Concourse