Biophilia- noun, (according to a theory of the biologist E.O. Wilson) there exists an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world.
Most of us know that it does us good to ‘get out in nature’ as often as possible. And for many people that might include walking the dog in the park, or heading to the beach on the weekend. These activities are certainly fantastic, and research has proven that the exercise and fresh air you get from outdoor activities reduces stress levels, boosts mood and improves health.
But what I would like to talk about today are those occasions when you really are immersed in nature. I mean no cell phone reception, no music in your ears, no sound of cars on the road, no sounds of other people. Nothing around you but nature, filling your nose, ears, eyes and heart. Now the benefits from these occasions are truly remarkable.
Over the long weekend my partner and some friends went on a walk up in Binna Burra. For those who don’t know this place it is about an hours drive from the Gold Coast, up in the national park covered mountains of the Scenic Rim. On the first half of our walk we were excited and chatty, probably quite noisy, stomping along the tracks and not paying too much attention to our surroundings. When we got to the bottom we were greeted by a crystal clear rock-pool, surrounded by lush forest with not another soul in sight. Jumping into this freezing, fresh water not only took your breath away, it also seemed to wash away all the fuzz. You know, the noisiness, the buzz of activity, all the go-go-go that we have running around our heads all day.
It really brought on a sedating level of peace- the like of which I have only felt after deep meditation (where I have usually fallen asleep!). I stood in the pool and opened my eyes to what was all around me. The things that had been all around me the whole time, but those I had failed to notice. All the creatures, sights, sounds and smells, the amazing silky soft feeling the fresh water gives your skin.
We walked back up the path a very different group. More quiet, more introspective, a lot more relaxed. This feeling I can only describe as biophilia- a connection.
The healing that can be achieved by truly getting back to nature is enormous. It might take some effort and some planning, but I know how good it is for us, and our busy minds.
This is a feeling I am happy to spend my weekends chasing