Mental and emotional health, the two core elements of life satisfaction, are more easily achieved if you turn off the computer, get outside, sit under a tree and reconnect with nature.
99% of all the advice you get from friends who have done a few weeks of therapy or a self help workshop/yoga retreat is separated from nature, it’s loving kindness protecting you. But it is potentially damaging….
RUMI – THE CORE OF MASCULINITY
The core of masculinity does not derive from being male, nor friendliness from those who console.
Your old grandmother says, “Maybe you shouldn’t go to school.
You look a little pale.”
Run when you hear that. A father’s stern slaps are better.
Your bodily soul wants comforting.
The severe father wants spiritual clarity.
He scolds but eventually leads you into the open.
Pray for a tough instructor to hear and act and stay within you. ~ Rumi
(1-2)Being masculine does not derive from simply having a penis, it’s an energy both males and females can have that challenges the status quo.
(3-6) Keep people who want to coddle you in a balance with those who want to challenge you. Those who advise you to “take it easy” or “slow down” may not intentionally seek to harm you but if you heed only their advice, if you cherry pick the advice you are given you will eventually find someone who says “you are right – run away from challenge – you are the victim.” That advice will not guide you for the long term. Chances are you will hear these words from a rescuer or someone who resents the masculinity (war, challenge, disruption) of life. Rumi chose a grandmother as an example, maybe appropriate in his time, but now, there is an unlimited supply of peace loving, kindness advocating, goodness celebrating, don’t challenge my thinking individuals lined up to replace her.
(7-9) An ass beating will build more character than a consolation hug. (not advocating violence nor smacking here). Your body will naturally prefer the latter. I know mine did when my football coach would yell or my Dad would thump me whenever I did something wrong. Bodily comfort and spiritual clarity are posed as opposites in these lines. Could they simultaneously exist? Actually they must: Support and Challenge are always in balance. If we favour the “consolation” of friends, we will attract the “masculine” in whatever form nature (universe/God etc) deems most effective.
(10-13) There’s no replacement for the tough-love masculine figure who will be unyielding when you beg for an easy route. His/her methods might frustrate you at times, hell it may even cause you to throw a tantrum or two but they will help you achieve your goals. This is the instructor/coach/mentor/ex partner/partner you should seek out.
(13- ) For most people this male figure used to be a father. Nowadays more and more men are being raised without knowing their fathers, let alone learning life lessons from them, so it might just be their mother who takes the mantle of masculine, or a school coach or a bully. Despite what the media says about things, a child will experience both the masculine and feminine of parenting. If both parents are “like the grandmother” then life, work, bully or health or spiritual depression may become the masculine. For me, I think it’s wiser to have this inside the home than allow it to find it’s own space elsewhere. Either way, there is a tough instructor, masculine in everyone’s life. This is why I recommend executives find a mentor (coach, professor, etc.) who is willing to embrace the masculine side of advice. What happens when you raise a generation of people without the masculine energy authenticated indoors? Well, just look around. You get a generation that are more insecure, oversensitive, and lacking resilience than the last generation. Of course, the pendulum will swing back, eventually. The core of masculinity derives from a parent, mentor, coach who is not afraid of the masculine side of life nor hard work.
Why You need a Different Approach
Since the industrial revolution, the development of a lifestyle lived predominantly indoors has resulted in less contact with the natural world. In the USA this equates to less than five minutes of free-time spent outdoors.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2006) found comparable results for Australia with less than 19 minutes spent outdoors each day. Most free time is spent indoors with the major recreational activity being audio-visual media (ABS, 2006). Explanations for this startling trend include the fact that as humanity has become more educated, work has become more indoor-oriented and living more sub-urban. As a result humanity has become more human centric, also termed anthropocentric, in focus. Hidden within these statistics is the fact that many people report that they spend little to no time out-of-doors and that women spend less time outside than men.
Research focusing on young people has indicated that young people are even more disconnected from the natural world (Rydberg, 2007). Leading some writers to call this disconnection a crisis termed “Nature Deficit Disorder.” Young people spend more time indoors connected to electronic outlets than they do out-of-doors. This trend of decreased time outdoors is continuing. Between 1997 and 2003 the proportion of 9-12 year olds who spent time playing outside declined by 50 percent.
The role of the Natural world in Wellness
The Western philosophical discipline has long recognised the positive relationship between perceptions of wellness and feelings of connection to the Natural World. Over the last twenty years researchers have gradually been identifying the human health benefits attributed to re-connecting with the natural environment. The significance of feeling connected to natural environments, families and friends are described as a foundational requirement for human health and wellbeing. Leading some researchers to recognise that environmental wellness should be considered an essential element of wellness research. In essence then the more a person feels disconnected from the natural world the less likely s/he will be functionally well. Also, findings indicate that the experience of disconnection from the natural world means that a person is less likely to be committed to positively interact with and protect the natural world. Hence, environmental loss and unsustainable carbon fuel energy consumption.
Caring for the Natural World
From this ecocentric perspective, the natural world is not separate from humanity; it is at the very core of humanity. Human beings can only really understand themselves by being engulfed in the natural world. As much as we try, humanity cannot be separated from nature. By accepting this condition and returning to nature, experientially recognising that we are interconnected to nature, we will rekindle values that lead to caring and the commitment to look after the environment. If people feel psychologically connected to the natural world, they willingly make sacrifices in accord with sustainable practices. Feelings of connection, unity or being a part of the natural world are a causal step to emotional care and behavioural commitment, to wanting to protect the natural world, to being willing to endure sacrifice in order to look after the natural world. A person will only undertake sustainable practices out of commitment to look after the natural world when he or she feels connected to, or part of the natural world.
Interbeing “There is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter exist – one cannot exist without the other. “Inter-being”is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter-”with the verb “to be,”we have a new verb, inter-be.
Without a cloud, we cannot have paper, so we can say that the cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are. If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-be. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread,and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist. Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too.
This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word interbe should be in the dictionary.
“To be”is to interbe. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is. Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of“non-paper elements.”And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without“non-paper elements,”like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.” Nich That Hunh