With newspapers informing us that more millennials are turning away from religion than past generations, it is soothing to know that the search for the spiritual remains strong. Younger generations may define themselves as “spiritual but not religious,” but many believe in God or a greater life force and seek purpose from their lives.
Religion may be waning, but spirituality is booming… with practices such as tarot card reading, palmistry, and other metaphysical interests rising in popularity. Nature is another way people seek to discover a richer spiritual life; and you too can do so by making a few changes to your garden space.
The Link Between Nature and Spirituality
Natural landscapes have served as symbols of ‘the great life force that flows through all living things’ (some would call it ‘God’), since time immemorial. Thus, the Aborigines of Australia espouse that ancestral spirits created the important physical geographic formations and sites, and sites such as Uluru (the sacred rock formation in the center of the Australian desert) are symbols of the power of creation wielded by the spirits.
Modern philosophers such as Carl Jung, meanwhile, believed that it was through natural symbols (lakes, oceans, mountains) that human beings could be more aware of the “collective unconscious”: the spiritual dimension they shared with all other human beings.
Bringing Spirituality into Your Garden
With so many studies showing that nature soothes stress and helps bring us to a state of mindfulness (which is vital for mental health), many families are harnessing these benefits by creating spiritual oases in their gardens.
Some seek to unite spirituality and nature through the use of decorative features such as sizeable water fountains, whose sound instantly transports the mind to a peaceful lake or stream, inspiring relaxation and making it easier to get into ‘the Zone’ while engaging in spiritual practises such as yoga, meditation or pranayamic breathing.
Others use a large space to build an outdoor meditation space, containing features such as wooden decked flooring and a thatched roof. Items such as statutes of God/s and Buddha can add a mystical feel, as can small touches such as dreamcatchers, chimes, and candle-lit lanterns, perfect for a night-time tarot card reading or psychic healing session.
Simply filling your garden with plants and flowers of all kinds can be a personal way to enhance mindfulness while you meditate, think of how to add greater purpose to your life, or take a ‘nature bath’, opening all your senses to the symbolic beauty of what lies around you. Study after study has shown that time spent in nature has powerful benefits, including stress reduction and improved concentration and focus, which can help human beings while they engage in spiritual pursuits.
Turning your garden into a place of worship, or the backdrop to everything from tarot readings to yoga sessions, harnesses the power of nature to heal, soothe, and restore. Your changes can be tiny (comprising one or more decorative pieces) or major, but regardless of your budget and the scale of your garden project, simply being outdoors is vital when it comes to boosting mental health.
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