The most common deficiency: are you getting enough vitamin N?

There’s a Buddhist teaching made famous by the monk Thich Nhat Hanh, of a concept called interbeing.

What is interbeing?

According to the laws of interbeing, everything is connected. But you don’t need to be a monk to understand interbeing in our normal day-to-day lives.

For example: when we eat an apple, we can see that it is made entirely of non-apple elements. The apple contains water, fibre and sugars. It is made from sunshine, rain and soil. It holds the energy of the tree that grew it. Without any of these non-apple elements, the apple would not exist.

Also, at which point does the cloud become rain, the rain become water, and the water become an apple? Everything we interact with (including ourselves) is constantly in a state of fluidity and is interdependent to everything else.

Interbeing might seem like a hippie and foreign concept to some because we are so far removed from our nature. 

We are more technologically connected  than ever before, yet at the same time we are more disconnected from our true selves than ever before.

We live in cities. Stare at screens all day. Go to the gym instead of the countryside. Live and work inside buildings with artificial light rather than natural light.

Therefore, I think interbeing is one of the most important concepts we need to realise.

If we truly understood the concept of interbeing how could we go to war, degrade the environment and factory farm billions of animals?

If we understood interbeing, we would realise that by destroying life on earth we are destroying ourselves.

Connect with nature

There is no nature and us. We are part of nature, not separate from it. Without the microbes in the soil that grow your food you would not be here. Without the trees that create the oxygen that you breathe you would not be here.

It’s impossible to be perfect and not have an impact. However there are things we can do that can not only connect us to nature, but also reclaim our nature and our health.

How to connect with nature

1. Be active outside for 30 minutes every day

Researchers at Glasgow University concluded that exercising outside is twice as good for mental health when compared with the gym.

Movement and exposing yourself to natural daylight for just 30 minutes a day, helps to reset your natural circadian rhythm which helps your body achieve a deep state of sleep.

And sleep is the most important element in maintaining good health.

This is the case even if it is cloudy outside and it’s one of the reasons why if you go on a big walk or holiday and you spend a lot of time outside, you tend to sleep better.

Moreover, natural daylight boosts vitamin D levels which are vital for boosting the immune system and energy levels.

2. Find a place to be still in nature

Choose a place near where you live so it will be easy to visit often. Ideally it will be a place with a natural and quiet setting such as a forest. Spend some quiet time in this spot a few times a week. You can just sit there or observe what’s going on around you. After a while you will start to notice things you didn’t notice before. 

This will also help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This puts your body in rest and digest instead of fight or flight and allows you to feel more energised.

3. Go barefoot

Most shoes have excessive cushioning and support which may sound great, but it can limit your potential to use and strengthen leg muscles and instead form bad walking habits. 

Walking barefoot also means it more closely restores our ‘natural’ walking pattern, also known as our gait.

4. Look at the sky at night

One of the best reasons to look at the sky and the stars at night is because it makes us realise we are a small part of something so vast and incomprehensible. 

It’s liberating in the best possible way and makes you realise that most of life’s problems aren’t so bad after all.

Sight is also our greatest sense which just adds to the sense of awe when looking up at a night sky full of stars.

5. Go on an adventure

Going on an adventure puts you in a new situation. This is good because it forces you to adapt and make your brain alert. This stands you on good stead to deal with uncertainties in life and become more resilient to them.

Adventures don’t have to be climbing Everest. Some good options are heading out to your local national park and climbing a mountain going for a wild swim!

Reclaim your nature

We are not meant to live in a confined environment. We are not meant to be disconnected from the natural world and our own true nature. 

A health epidemic and environmental decline are symptoms of the fact that we are not living true to our nature. 

Modern society conditions us to consider this as normal and unavoidable. But simply by practicing a few of the methods outlined above will help you connect with nature and your true nature.

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