Healing Through Nature
A Dharma Teaching by Grandmaster JinBodhi
Compilation by Ning Qi Yuan
One day I was sitting on the grass in a park and my disciple came over and said, “Master, please sit on a cushion. The ground is dirty.”
I replied, “How can this beautiful grass possibly be dirty?”
I was sitting at the beach and my disciple said, “Master, here’s a cushion for you to sit on. The sand is dirty.”
My response was: “How can the sand possibly be unclean?”
Our bodies want to feel Mother Earth. When we are exhausted, we crave contact with sand or water. If you long to relax in a natural setting, it may be because your body needs certain nutrients that the bounty of Nature provides.
The Body Knows
The world is composed of myriad trace elements. They are invisible, many times smaller than microorganisms and bacteria. There is a diverse spectrum of foods and species; each living thing absorbs different trace elements. For example, the energy absorbed by walnuts is vastly different from the energy absorbed by grapes. If you crave a certain food, your body may be in need of certain elements contained in that food.
Just like a vehicle that emits light or sound when it requires servicing, organic organisms emit signals when they are in need of nutrients. Our brain is like a supercomputer which can automatically detect the body’s feelings. There are times when the body has a particular need, such as to eat a cucumber. The fastest neuron will detect the need and send a signal to the brain, telling you to consume the vegetable.
In dry areas, people tend to desire cool, moisturizing food. In humid places, grilled food is preferred. When we naturally favor a particular type of food or a style, color and material, it suggests we have a certain need. The body possesses deep wisdom, and it is capable of communicating its needs in all kinds of subtle ways.
All substances can turn into energy for us.
Children and adults should interact with the natural environment
– touch the soil, take a bath in the lake, apply mud on your face,
or play games in the field. We need to return to Nature.
Touch the Earth
The volcano on a prairie in Africa erupts every two or three years, spewing volcanic ash. When the ash lands on the plains, it is fertilizer for new grass. The grassland absorbs the trace elements of volcanic ash, making it extremely rich in nutrients. The cattle and sheep on the savannah eat this nutrient-rich grass. A scientist discovered that the animals here are particularly strong and healthy.
When physically active animals such as horses, cows and donkeys are exhausted, they roll back and forth on the ground, shake their bodies and make noises. Such are their ways of recuperating, rejuvenating and replenishing energy. The animals recharge themselves by being in contact with the ground to receive energy from the Earth’s soil, sand and water.
An animal rolling on the ground is akin to us taking a relaxing hot bath after a long day at work. Feelings of irritability and discomfort are washed away. We rejuvenate ourselves by feeling a sense of connection with Mother Earth.
All substances can turn into energy for us. Children and adults should interact with the natural environment –– touch the soil, take a bath in the lake, apply mud on your face, or play games in the field. We need to return to Nature. Walk on sand to feel the grains and tread in seawater to absorb its energy. The soil in our hands is not useless dirt. We are in contact with the natural nutrients which are particularly beneficial to our health.
In the past, children played freely with the earth and mud. Rolling on the ground is one of the healthy ways of expelling illnesses from the body. Soil and mud contain essential elements that our body requires. Absorbing the environment’s natural nutrients also increases the body’s resistance to disease.
When we reach adulthood, we mask ourselves in identity and dignity. We seldom have any contact with Nature or when we do, we tend to wash it off. Such behavior does not allow the body to develop antibodies, making us prone to allergies.
Return to Nature
All things in the world are interconnected. A friend of mine raised five chickens. He conscientiously cleaned the coop and fed them. After three months of his care, all of them died. The ground was too clean and there was no soil. The chickens had been particularly anxious, as if trying to tell him that they were lacking soil, sand and minerals. He did not know what they needed, and so provided them with an overly sanitized environment. In fact, chickens need sand because eggshells are formed from the minerals they eat.
Meditate to Transform
I hope everyone will return to Nature. Sunlight can be changed into electrical energy. Water vapor and gases in the air can transform each other. Substances can be transformed into gases, and gases into matter. Likewise, negative emotions can be transformed into positive energy. Our mental stress and the body’s illnesses can be transformed into peace and good health through meditation, which applies the concept from Buddha’s teachings that “form is emptiness and emptiness is form.” Things do not remain constant and people do not live in one form eternally. Everything gives and receives impact.
The same is true of diseases in our body. Many people develop a tumor after consistently getting angry. The energy from the anger becomes a small growth in the body. When we experience more joys, this growth may be changed. What if we experience energy blessing and a relaxed body and mind? What if the root cause of disease were removed? For instance, when one completely forgives another without holding on to any vestige of anger at all, maybe even the last bit of disease in the one who forgives will disappear.
Meditation helps us gain physical and mental health by bringing us into a state of tranquility which fully connects us to the peaceful essence of Nature. Thus, practitioners of meditation become wiser and happier. Deep contemplation enables us to transcend our mundane thinking. When we dwell in peace, we tap into the healing wisdom of Mother Earth.