Go Outside and Play 24-06-2012

Do it now. Leave your bedroom, apartment, house, office, whatever—get outdoors and bask in the warm radiance of the sunlight. Hear the wind glide along and around the leaves, feel the cool cushion of the grass as it cradles your feet. Climb into the shady recesses of the oak tree, sunbathe in the open expanse of white sands. Watch clouds drift lazily, aimlessly overhead. Follow the slow trickle of the spring and witness the awesome power of the sea. Stumble through the meadow, awash in the fragrance of the jasmine and the rose. Leave the confines of Man's concrete walls and return to nature. Play, run, jump, dance. Sit, gaze, rest, observe. Wander.

When you feel trapped within your home, within the situations and perils posed by life or within the unending chaos of your own mind, know that there is always a path that leads to tranquility. Nature presents this route not insofar as it allows one to evade or delay stressful circumstances, but because it allows one to move into a setting where the mind can focus on the beauty and splendor of the moment. Part of the turmoil we feel in our daily lives is caused by the ample opportunity to drown in a flood of aimless, never-ending thought. We are given countless situations which require only mild attention: whittling away time at our desks, mindlessly surfing the Web, lounging on our couches, crawling through the morning commute, making smalltalk in the hallway, browsing through our Netflix queues, tapping away at our phones, loading laundry into the washing machine, lining up for some sort of coffee at the cafe. Quiet desperation, indeed.

In this casual state of halved attention, the other half is filled with contemplation. The mind wanders from topic to topic, traversing up and down the strange loops composing the primary themes and matters occupying its own forefront. It struggles and drudges through the same ideas and concepts over and over again, poring over infinite, sometimes imagined details of whatever thoughts it finds most pertinent, the very same ones which often happen to be the most troubling.

Herein lies the counter-intuition of the remedy: escaping to nature, where one is free and compelled to amble, allows one's mind to focus. Instead of stepping through memories of the past and predicting infinite permutations of the future, the mind is held fast in the moment by the beauty of nature and her sensory bouquet. Listen to those rustling leaves adorning those swaying treetops. Feel that ravishingly warm Sun. Observe the ecstatic dance of the beetles along the surface of the river. In each of these you find the personification of peace, and it captivates. It enchants. It begs and ensnares every last ounce of your attention and, in doing so, nature relaxes you.

By gracefully stimulating the senses just so, nature plucks you out of the deluge. Even if just for a few scant moments, meandering through nature's bounty refreshes the mind. It wipes clean the chopping board upon which the trimmings of mental machinations settle. It clears out the buffer of any anguish and stress and fills it to capacity with delightfully new sights, sounds and scents. Be it a hike through the woods or a lounge along the shore, the experience of leaving behind the doldrums of the day-to-day to be enraptured by nature's brilliance is not to be missed.

And it need not be missed: no matter how painfully common the everyday may feel, nature has and will continue to persist for much, much longer. Its existence and beauty are the closest things we have in this Universe to permanence. There is harmony in that.

So go find it. And if you can bring along a special some one to share the experience, then all the better.