Research shows that time spent in mindful immersion in nature such as walking or contemplating in a forest setting is beneficial for physical and mental health, reducing stress and blood pressure. In addition, art works such as photographs of vegetation-rich nature scenes are also calming.
Our immersion and intertwining with nature not only benefits our wellbeing, but also that of the earth and a respect for it as our own ‘flesh’, as outlined by Merleau-Ponty and Abrams. Embodiment extends beyond ego- to an eco-boundary, as alluded to by the late James Hillman.
A colleague has a hand-made thick earthen pottery mug on his ‘high-flying-executive-city-office’ desk. Whilst far away, in the country, he had watched the potter fashion it from his heart and hands, with ‘self’ centered on the clay, making this object to give. Every time my friend drinks from this earthen mug he reconnects with this potter’s warmth, attention, intent, and connection with the earth. This item of attachment – is not only the tea but also the mug – infused with synaesthetic, inner images of connection and memory. How different is this to polystyrene or paper from many of our hospital dispensing machines? It’s these very small threads that can hold things together….(Reflective Journal HF 2013)