The Beauty of Nature Expressed in 20 Awe-Inspiring Quotes

BY SOFO ARCHON

big-snowy-mountain

Nature is incredibly beautiful and immensely inspiring, and those who spend time in its embrace are tremendously benefited by it. Here I have collected 20 quotes from various authors that express the beauty of nature in a way that inspires awe and wonder. Enjoy.

1. “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” —Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

2. “I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’” —Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

3. “The glitter in the sky looks as if I could scoop it all up in my hands and let the stars swirl and touch one another, but they are so distant, so very far apart, that they cannot feel the warmth of each other, even though they are made of burning.” —Beth Revis, Across the Universe

4. “I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.” —Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

5. “The future of life on Earth depends on our ability to see the sacred where others see only the common.” —John Denver

6. “Quiet stars and the still of expectation. The eucalyptus branches heavy with evening dew, their feet shuffling woodchips, braiding eights in the silver grass, and edging hillocks from the first mulch of fall.” —Will Chancellor, A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall

7. “The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.” —Christopher Paolini, Eragon

8. “But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called—called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.” —Jack London, The Call of the Wild

9. “‘To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.’” —Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

10. “Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.”
—Mary Oliver, “Snowy Night”

11. “Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”
―Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”

12. “Not just beautiful, though—the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.” —Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

13. “These people have learned not from books, but in the fields, in the wood, on the river bank. Their teachers have been the birds themselves, when they sang to them, the sun when it left a glow of crimson behind it at setting, the very trees, and wild herbs.”  ―Anton Chekhov, “A Day in the Country”

14. “There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”
—Lord Byron, “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”

15. “Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” —John Muir, Our National Parks

16. “If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

17. “‘Is the spring coming?’ he said. ‘What is it like?’ …
‘It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up and working under the earth.’”
—Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

18. “I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’” ―Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

19. “This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” —John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir

20. Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. John Ruskin


5 Fascinating Studies That Prove the Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

BY SOFO ARCHON

woman-in-the-woods

All human beings love being close to nature and respond to it, whether they consciously feel connected to it or not. Erich Fromm coined the term biophilia to describe this fact, which was later expanded by Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson, in his effort to describe the connections that people unconsciously seek with the natural world.

Scientific studies have repeatedly proven that people have an inherent connection with the natural world, by showing the amazing physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature. Below are 5 fascinating findings from such studies, all pointing out to how healing nature could be to us, if only realized this and chose to spend more time close to it.

  • The cognitive functioning of children was enhanced when a park or greenery could be seen from their home. [1]
  • Workers in rooms with windows tend to have a better overall health, feel less frustration and have more patience, as well as enjoy working more. [2]
  • Two groups of patients who had the exact same surgery had different health outcomes, depending on whether their hospital rooms had a view of a brown block wall or a stand of trees. In particular, those patients whose rooms looked out on trees experienced shorter stays–that is, one full day on average–and had a lower need of taking medication to soothe pain. In addition, it was found that their moods were better, and they suffered fewer minor complications. [3]
  • When two groups of patients in a John Hopkins Hospital were told to spend the hours before surgery either listening to recordings of a birdsong and a babbling brook, as well as look at a poster depicting a landscape, or spending time without sounds or image, the former group reported significantly better pain management the the later group. [4]
  • When participants in a University of Essex experiment were shown before and after pictures of urban and rural scenes and then were put on a treadmill, those participants who were shown pleasant rural scenes had a significantly lower blood pressure, while those who were shown unpleasant urban photos were found to have an increase in their blood pressure levels. [5]

It seems that the physical and mental health benefits one can have by choosing to spend more time in the natural would are enormous. Most of us, however, living in big cities, spending most of our time in small rooms of concrete, don’t realize it or overlook it. From now on, whenever you can, choose to spend more of your time in natural surroundings, and reap the amazing benefits of it!

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” ~John Muir

References:
1. Andrea Faber Taylor et al., “Growing Up in the Inner City: Green Spaces As Places to Grow,” Environment and Behaviour 30, no. 1 (1998): 3-27; Andrea Faber Taylor, Frances E. Kuo, William C. Sullivan, “Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings,” Environment and Behaviour 33 (2001):77-85.
2. Carolyn M. Tennessen and Bernadine Cimprich, “Views to Nature: Effects on Attention,” Journal of Environmental Psychology 15, no.1 (1995): 77-85.
3. Jules Pretty et al., “The Mental and Physical Health Outcomes of Green Exercise,” International Journal of Environmental Health Research 15, no5 (October 2005).
4. Roger S. Ulrich, “View Through a Window May Influence Recovery from Surgery,” Science 224, no. 4647 (1984): 420-421. www.sciencemag.org/content/224/4647/420.abstract
5.Gregory B. Diette er al., “Distraction Therapy with Nature Sights and Sounds Reduces Pain During Flexible Bronchoscopy: A Complementary Approach to Routine Analgesia,” Chest, no 3 (2003): 941-948.

70 Epictetus Quotes on Life, Death, God, Philosophy, Knowledge, Truth, Will, Freedom, and More

BY SOFO ARCHON

epictetus

Here is a collection of 70 deep, wise, brilliant quotes from the mind of the great Stoic philosopher Epictetus, on topics such as life and death, god and truth, philosophy and knowledge, will and freedom. 

1. For it is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death.

2. For I am not Eternity, but a human being—a part of the whole, as an hour is part of the day. I must come like the hour, and like the hour must pass!

3. Crows pick out the eyes of the dead, when the dead have no longer need of them; but flatterers mar the soul of the living, and her eyes they blind.

4. What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.

5. Be not swept off your feet by the vividness of the impression, but say, “Impression, wait for me a little. Let me see what you are and what you represent. Let me try you

6. In theory there is nothing to hinder our following what we are taught; but in life there are many things to draw us aside.

7. When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing?

8. Remember that you ought to behave in life as you would at a banquet. As something is being passed around it comes to you; stretch out your hand, take a portion of it politely. It passes on; do not detain it. Or it has not come to you yet; do not project your desire to meet it, but wait until it comes in front of you. So act toward children, so toward a wife, so toward office, so toward wealth.

9. When you do anything from a clear judgment that it ought to be done, never shun the being seen to do it, even though the world should make a wrong supposition about it; for, if you don’t act right, shun the action itself; but, if you do, why are you afraid of those who censure you wrongly?

10. Everything has two handles, the one by which it may be carried, the other by which it cannot. If your brother acts unjustly, don’t lay hold on the action by the handle of his injustice, for by that it cannot be carried; but by the opposite, that he is your brother, that he was brought up with you; and thus you will lay hold on it, as it is to be carried.

11. These reasonings are unconnected: “I am richer than you, therefore I am better”; “I am more eloquent than you, therefore I am better.” The connection is rather this: “I am richer than you, therefore my property is greater than yours;” “I am more eloquent than you, therefore my style is better than yours.” But you, after all, are neither property nor style.

12. Thou shalt not blame or flatter any.

13. Wherever a man is against his will, that to him is a prison.

14. Only the educated are free.

15. If you have assumed a character beyond your strength, you have both played a poor figure in that, and neglected one that is within your powers.

16. It is difficulties that show what men are.

17. To you, all you have seems small: to me, all I have seems great. Your desire is insatiable, mine is satisfied. See children thrusting their hands into a narrow-necked jar, and striving to pull out the nuts and figs it contains: if they fill the hand, they cannot pull it out again, and then they fall to tears.— ‘Let go a few of them, and then you can draw out the rest!’—You, too, let your desire go! covet not many things, and you will obtain.

18.No thing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.

19. First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.

20. If you seek Truth, you will not seek to gain a victory by every possible means; and when you have found Truth, you need not fear being defeated.

21. Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.

22. It is the act of an ill-instructed man to blame others for his own bad condition; it is the act of one who has begun to be instructed, to lay the blame on himself; and of one whose instruction is completed, neither to blame another, nor himself.

23. Let silence be your general rule; or say only what is necessary and in few words.

24. Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake, in little things; and thence proceed to greater.

25. Appearances to the mind are of four kinds. Things either are what they appear to be; or they neither are, nor appear to be; or they are, and do not appear to be; or they are not, and yet appear to be. Rightly to aim in all these cases is the wise man’s task.

26. A man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.

27. Give me by all means the shorter and nobler life, instead of one that is longer but of less account!

28. A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope.

29. Even as the Sun doth not wait for prayers and incantations to rise, but shines forth and is welcomed by all: so thou also wait not for clapping of hands and shouts and praise to do thy duty; nay, do good of thine own accord, and thou wilt be loved like the Sun.

30. I must die. Must I then die lamenting? I must be put in chains. Must I then also lament? I must go into exile. Does any man then hinder me from going with smiles and cheerfulness and contentment?

31. It is better to die of hunger having lived without grief and fear, than to live with a troubled spirit, amid abundance.

32. Don’t seek to have events happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well with you.

33. There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will.

34. Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

35. Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.

36. If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.

37. The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.

38. The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.

39. Control thy passions lest they take vengeance on thee.

40. Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.

41. Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.

42. Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do. Hold to your true aspirations no matter what is going on around you.

43. He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.

44. Freedom is the name of virtue: Slavery, of vice…. None is a slave whose acts are free.

45. Of pleasures, those which occur most rarely give the most delight.

46. Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.

47. The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.

48. Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.

49. First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.

50. If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.

51. All religions must be tolerated… for every man must get to heaven in his own way.

52. God gave man two ears, but only one mouth, that he might hear twice as much as he speaks. –Epictetus

53. Events do not just happen, but arrive by appointment.

54. If you would cure anger, do not feed it. Say to yourself: ‘I used to be angry every day; then every other day; now only every third or fourth day.’ When you reach thirty days offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the gods.

55. He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

56. It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.

57. Do not try to seem wise to others.

58. Does anyone bathe in a mighty little time? Don’t say that he does it ill, but in a mighty little time. Does anyone drink a great quantity of wine? Don’t say that he does ill, but that he drinks a great quantity. For, unless you perfectly understand the principle from which anyone acts, how should you know if he acts ill? Thus you will not run the hazard of assenting to any appearances but such as you fully comprehend.

59. With every accident, ask yourself what abilities you have for making a proper use of it. If you see an attractive person, you will find that self-restraint is the ability you have against your desire. If you are in pain, you will find fortitude. If you hear unpleasant language, you will find patience. And thus habituated, the appearances of things will not hurry you away along with them.

60. Seek not the good in external things; seek it in yourselves.

61. Caretake this moment. Immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed. Quit evasions. Stop giving yourself needless trouble. It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.

62. It is not so much what happens to you as how you think about what happens.

63. Difficulty shows what men are. Therefore when a difficulty falls upon you, remember that God, like a trainer of wrestlers, has matched you with a rough young man. Why? So that you may become an Olympic conqueror; but it is not accomplished without sweat.

64. No man is free who is not master of himself.

65. If you would be a reader, read; if a writer, write.

66. If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid with regard to external things. Don’t wish to be thought to know anything; and even if you appear to be somebody important to others, distrust yourself. For, it is difficult to both keep your faculty of choice in a state conformable to nature, and at the same time acquire external things. But while you are careful about the one, you must of necessity neglect the other.

67. Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.

68. There is but one way to tranquility of mind and happiness, and that is to account no external things thine own, but to commit all to God.

69. Resolve to live as a grown-up who is making progress, and make whatever you think best a law that you never set aside. And whenever you encounter anything that is difficult or pleasurable, or highly or lowly regarded, remember that the contest is now: you are at the Olympic Games, you cannot wait any longer, and that your progress is wrecked or preserved by a single day and a single event. That is how Socrates fulfilled himself by attending to nothing except reason in everything he encountered. And you, although you are not yet a Socrates, should live as someone who at least wants to be a Socrates.

70. Concerning the Gods, there are those who deny the very existence of the Godhead; others say that it exists, but neither bestirs nor concerns itself not has forethought far anything. A third party attribute to it existence and forethought, but only for great and heavenly matters, not for anything that is on earth. A fourth party admit things on earth as well as in heaven, but only in general, and not with respect to each individual. A fifth, of whom were Ulysses and Socrates, are those that cry: I move not without Thy knowledge!