– By Sherene Noble – Volunteer and Pastoral Care Coordinator, Courtlands North Parramatta

I am very grateful in my life to have so much opportunity for conversation and discussion on spirituality. Recently during one such conversation, an acronym for GOD – The Great OutDoors was discussed; this makes me smile.

Spiritual connection and its close ties to the natural world has been present from the beginning of time. It is an essence which spans most religions and spiritual paths, it is the strong spiritual connection to the land which forms the base of our indigenous people’s beliefs, as well as Buddhists, Mystics, Hindus and many other faiths and spiritual practises.

In Christianity, there is the example of Christ who retreated to the wilderness to recharge and have conscious contact with God, His Father. Christ used examples from the natural world for many of his teachings and parables. In an age where people are more connected to each other than ever before, there has never been a time in history in which people have become more disconnected from the natural world.

For me, taking time to reconnect with the great outdoors and therefore my God, is an essential part of my spiritual life. Stepping out into the bushland which comes up to the boundary of our property, exploring the wilderness with my family or sitting meditating on a rock overlooking the ocean or forest is the time I feel a close connection to the spiritual side of life, which although intangible feels more real to me than any other aspect of life. When I’m in the middle of the bush tucked away from the chaos of the city where I live, away from society, which for the most part
makes little sense to me, I’m brought to a serene sense of peace that surpasses anything I have ever found. Here in
this place I feel a sense of connection with the land and its creator, a sense of humility and understanding that all
will be well and as it should – everything here has its place, role and time. There is order in the chaos, peace
in the noise, serenity in the growth and a great wisdom overshadowing all.

This connection between the natural world and our spirituality as humans is one well worth honouring. During Spring, a time which brings feelings of hope, a time for new beginnings, a time when the natural world around us explodes with energy and new life… take time… connect with this wondrous gift that surrounds us. Many of those we care for, our loved ones, may be cut off due to ill health or age. Take them out – if confined to four walls cut off from creation, take them a flower, a newly budded leaf, open the window so the sound of the baby birds can come in; for everything has its season and spring is the natural world’s reminder to all of us that the cycles of life are continuing, all is well, and the Power that holds us all in this beautiful universe is full of love and peace.