“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” ~ Albert Einstein
Our most significant teachers in life aren’t people.
To each his own when it comes to teachers—some have gurus as personal teachers, while others have books they consider as priceless guides. Sometimes, regular people we cross paths with can serve as significant instructors.
From where I stand, I had gurus, books, and innumerable people who taught me a considerable number of lessons. However, I have one powerful teacher that no one and nothing can compete with: the universe; in particular “nature.”
Sadly, some people underestimate the power of nature. I personally know individuals who loathe being in a green space. They think it’s boring, and utterly nonsense. In contrast, I believe nature makes all the sense in the world. We share with it the same energy that we have in our being. Nevertheless, unlike us, nature isn’t cursed with a brain that hinders its ability for growth.
If we look around us, we will find abundant lessons to learn from. Unfortunately, we’re too busy to see what’s outside. It’s the era of technology. We can’t leave our devices alone for five minutes. The first thing we look at in the morning is our phone, instead of looking at the sky and praising the sun. If there’s a storm outside, we will know through social media statuses. The result is that we’re missing on what will truly make us grow; we’re missing nature.
Nature provides countless lessons we can learn from. Nevertheless, I have chosen three that I’ve personally learned. I must admit they were life-changing when I reflected on them.
1. Letting things be.
“Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu
Nature has the wisdom of just allowing things to happen—unlike us. Everything in nature spontaneously grows without any demanded effort. Rivers flow, flowers bloom, caterpillars develop into butterflies, trees become robust, and strong roots emerge in plants. Millions of droplets of water make clouds. The sun has been giving light and heat for thousands of years. There are nine planets that have been traveling around the sun for billions of years.
Even activities that aren’t visible to the eye are happening daily in our universe; just by letting things be. Have you ever seen a tree pulling itself up to become longer? Have you ever come across a flower struggling to bloom?
If we watch how nature is, we will learn how to be. Our sole mistake in living is that we struggle to make things happen. But things will happen. The same energy and power that is watching over nature, is watching over us as well. We should give it a chance to work its magic in our life, and it can only happen if we allow it to.
2. Birth and death.
My two favorite seasons of the year are fall and spring. I like to watch the dry yellow leaves of trees falling down. I watch how people step on them, and carefully listen to how they rustle below everyone’s shoes. I keep this image in my mind until spring comes. I see how the tree blooms again, and the same people who stepped on the leaves look up to watch the magnificent colors on the branches.
This is the cycle of birth and death that exists in our life too. Death isn’t only physical. Every day, something is dying in our life, even if we don’t recognize it. A relationship ends, a friendship dies, emotions change, our words are different, and we are not the same person we were yesterday.
Accepting this truth will turn our perspective on life upside down. Like nature, everything that dies today, will be born again tomorrow. Flowers in winter wither and die only to bloom again in summer. They are everywhere around us. Simply watch one flower and meditate on its death and rebirth.
Nature has a magical way of accepting what is in difficult times. When the wind blows, plants and flowers spread in its direction. When it rains, leaves bow when touched with drops of water. Nature goes with the flow. It transforms, and accepts, until things are better again.
Natural disasters are a proof that there is a certain power in the world that we have no control over. They are similar to the catastrophes that we face in our personal lives. However, we rarely accept. We long to possess happiness, perfection, and righteousness. If something goes wrong, we nag and criticize. We curse this life wishing we were never born.
The fact is, we should be like flowers and leaves. When the wind blows, go with it. When it rains, bow down with it. Eventually it will be sunny again, and standing against the cycle of life will only do us personal harm.
We can only learn from nature through watching it. We don’t necessarily have to leave everything and live in the wilderness to learn. We can daily dedicate a couple of minutes to look outside. We can even go outside for a walk, and catch the closest nature next to us. If we can’t see trees, the sea, or flowers, we can simply look up and learn from the activities of the sky.
Nature is always accessible to us. Hence, we should benefit from its existence. Let’s put our phones down for a couple of hours, and see what has been created. This universe is magic. Let’s profit from it.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Jamie Cooper/Unsplash