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nehkeval

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nehkeval last won the day on September 14 2018

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About nehkeval

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  3. https://chat.whatsapp.com/Kk3Rab7DHEmLxFbiDVxa9j Join if you want to get gurbani tuks that keep you on the path.
  4. Core teachings of Sri Guru Nanak which we must live by , this is the right way to commemorate 550th birthday of guru sahib. All of the lines below are from the bani of Sri guru granth sahib First and foremost is this human life is extremely precious and we might never get it again. ਇਹੁ ਮਾਣਕੁ ਜੀਉ ਨਿਰਮੋਲੁ ਹੈ ਇਉ ਕਉਡੀ ਬਦਲੈ ਜਾਇ ॥੩॥ Eihu Maanak Jeeo Niramol Hai Eio Kouddee Badhalai Jaae ||3|| This jewel of the soul is priceless, and yet it is being squandered like this, in exchange for a mere shell. ||3|| We must start our day with naam simran - ਸਬਾਹੀ ਸਾਲਾਹ ਜਿਨੀ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ॥ Sabaahee Saalaah Jinee Dhhiaaeiaa Eik Man || Those who praise the Lord in the early hours of the morning and meditate on Him single-mindedly, ਸੇਈ ਪੂਰੇ ਸਾਹ ਵਖਤੈ ਉਪਰਿ ਲੜਿ ਮੁਏ ॥ Saeee Poorae Saah Vakhathai Oupar Larr Mueae || Are the perfect kings; at the right time, they die fighting. ਦੂਜੈ ਬਹੁਤੇ ਰਾਹ ਮਨ ਕੀਆ ਮਤੀ ਖਿੰਡੀਆ ॥ Dhoojai Bahuthae Raah Man Keeaa Mathee Khinddeeaa || In the second watch, the focus of the mind is scattered in all sorts of ways. Our mind is habitually wandering in thoughts about money, other people, sense pleasures (ras kas), we should keep bringing it to a word ( like satnam or waheguru or ek onkar etc) , this earning of naam is the only thing that will accompany us ਵਣਜੁ ਕਰਹੁ ਵਣਜਾਰਿਹੋ ਵਖਰੁ ਲੇਹੁ ਸਮਾਲਿ ॥ Vanaj Karahu Vanajaariho Vakhar Laehu Samaal || Make your deals, dealers, and take care of your merchandise. ਤੈਸੀ ਵਸਤੁ ਵਿਸਾਹੀਐ ਜੈਸੀ ਨਿਬਹੈ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ Thaisee Vasath Visaaheeai Jaisee Nibehai Naal || Buy that object which will go along with you. We should eat little and sleep only the amount that body needs to feel rested, and spend our free time meditating on the truth. ਖੰਡਿਤ ਨਿਦ੍ਰਾ ਅਲਪ ਅਹਾਰੰ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੋ ॥੮॥ Khanddith Nidhraa Alap Ahaaran Naanak Thath Beechaaro ||8|| Sleep little, and eat little; O Nanak, this is the essence of wisdom. ||8|| Always live in the present moment - mind tends to wander in past and future , we should try to pull it back to the present moment and focus on the activity like eating, walking, cooking, talking etc. ਸਚੇ ਸੇਤੀ ਰਤਿਆ ਸਚੋ ਪਲੈ ਪਾਇ ॥੭॥ Sachae Saethee Rathiaa Sacho Palai Paae ||7|| Attuned to Truth, you shall obtain the True One. ||7|| We should approach each and every moment as though it is the first time we are experiencing this e.g we go to the same place to work or meet same family members in the morning, we should treat this experience as if we are doing it for the first time in life- we should pay attention to everything body language, sounds, color because its waheguru himself that is ever new manifesting itself through these physical phenomenon ਦੂਖ ਵਿਸਾਰਣੁ ਸੇਵਿਆ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਦਾਤਾਰੁ ॥੧॥ Dhookh Visaaran Saeviaa Sadhaa Sadhaa Dhaathaar ||1|| I serve Him, who makes me forget my pains; He is the Giver, forever and ever. ||1|| ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਨੀਤ ਨਵਾ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਦਾਤਾਰੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ Saahib Maeraa Neeth Navaa Sadhaa Sadhaa Dhaathaar ||1|| Rehaao || My Lord and Master is forever new; He is the Giver, forever and ever. ||1||Pause|| We must alwasy speak truth , when we are lying we do so only because we are attached to the worldly affairs , either greed or fear is us causing us to selfishly lie. ਬੋਲਹਿ ਸਾਚੁ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਨਹੀ ਰਾਈ ॥ They speak the Truth - not an iota of falsehood. ਚਾਲਹਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ॥ The Gurmukhs walk in the Way of the Lord's Command. ਰਹਹਿ ਅਤੀਤ ਸਚੇ ਸਰਣਾਈ ॥੧॥ They remain unattached, in the Sanctuary of the True Lord. ||1|| It is very unspirtiual to let thoughts greed or worry about livelihood flourish in our minds, for the lord forever takes care of our food provided we dont ask for too much ਨਾਨਕ ਜੰਤ ਉਪਾਇ ਕੈ ਸੰਮਾਲੇ ਸਭਨਾਹ ॥ Naanak Janth Oupaae Kai Sanmaalae Sabhanaah || O Nanak, having created the living beings, He cherishes them all. ਜਿਨਿ ਕਰਤੈ ਕਰਣਾ ਕੀਆ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਭਿ ਕਰਣੀ ਤਾਹ ॥ Jin Karathai Karanaa Keeaa Chinthaa Bh Karanee Thaah || The Creator who created the creation, takes care of it as well. To be continued...
  5. right veerji , I meant attachment to worldly affairs , btw which site / app you use for quoting gurbani
  6. The foundation of spirituality as per gurmat is detachment. If the foundation of a house is weak it won't last long - similarly, if we stay attached to family , acquisition and display of wealth, looks, sensual entertainments, seeking praise from others then we will have a real hard time concentrating in our mediation or simran. Please share ! Here are some tuks that we should print and stick on various places to continuously hammer in the idea of staying "Niralam" On the dressing table ਲਖ ਟਕਿਆ ਕੇ ਮੁੰਦੜੇ ਲਖ ਟਕਿਆ ਕੇ ਹਾਰ ॥ लख टकिआ के मुंदड़े लख टकिआ के हार ॥ Lakẖ taki▫ā ke munḏ▫ṛe lakẖ taki▫ā ke hār. They wear earrings, and necklaces worth thousands of dollars. ਜਿਤੁ ਤਨਿ ਪਾਈਅਹਿ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸੇ ਤਨ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਛਾਰ ॥ जितु तनि पाईअहि नानका से तन होवहि छार ॥ Jiṯ ṯan pā▫ī▫ah nānkā se ṯan hovėh cẖẖār. Those bodies on which they are worn, O Nanak, those bodies turn to ashes. and (to remind us of approaching death and detaching from this body which is nothing but dirt , and garnering praise from people that we are still young) ਜੇ ਜਰਵਾਣਾ ਪਰਹਰੈ ਜਰੁ ਵੇਸ ਕਰੇਦੀ ਆਈਐ ॥ जे जरवाणा परहरै जरु वेस करेदी आईऐ ॥ Je jarvāṇā parharai jar ves kareḏī ā▫ī▫ai. Even if you remove the signs of old age, old age shall still come in the guise of death. ਕੋ ਰਹੈ ਨ ਭਰੀਐ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੫॥ को रहै न भरीऐ पाईऐ ॥५॥ Ko rahai na bẖarī▫ai pā▫ī▫ai. ||5|| No one remains here when the count of the breaths is full. ||5|| 2) On weddings when people are dancing and acting unskillfully in other ways ਨਚਣੁ ਕੁਦਣੁ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥ नचणु कुदणु मन का चाउ ॥ Nacẖaṇ kuḏaṇ man kā cẖā▫o. They dance and jump around on the urgings of their minds. ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਮਨਿ ਭਉ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਉ ॥੨॥ नानक जिन्ह मनि भउ तिन्हा मनि भाउ ॥२॥ Nānak jinĥ man bẖa▫o ṯinĥā man bẖā▫o. ||2|| O Nanak, those whose minds are filled with the Fear of God, have the love of God in their minds as well. ||2|| 3) When there is a desire in mind to ask waheguru for some worldly favor ਜੀਉ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਸਭੁ ਤਿਸ ਦਾ ਦੇ ਖਾਜੈ ਆਖਿ ਗਵਾਈਐ ॥ जीउ पिंडु सभु तिस दा दे खाजै आखि गवाईऐ ॥ Jī▫o pind sabẖ ṯis ḏā ḏe kẖājai ākẖ gavā▫ī▫ai. Soul and body all belong to Him; asking Him to give us sustenance is a waste. 4) on the entrance of your home whether its a grand mansion (or you have one in your day dreams) ਊਚੇ ਮੰਦਰ ਸਾਲ ਰਸੋਈ ॥ ऊचे मंदर साल रसोई ॥ Ūcẖe manḏar sāl raso▫ī. You may have lofty mansions, halls and kitchens. ਏਕ ਘਰੀ ਫੁਨਿ ਰਹਨੁ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੧॥ एक घरी फुनि रहनु न होई ॥१॥ Ėk gẖarī fun rahan na ho▫ī. ||1|| But you cannot stay in them, even for an instant, after death. ||1|| 5) If you take too much pride in your physical appearance, youth, muscles, etc ਜੋਬਨੁ ਧਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਭਤਾ ਕੈ ਮਦ ਮੈ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਰਹੈ ਦਿਵਾਨਾ ॥੧॥ जोबनु धनु प्रभता कै मद मै अहिनिसि रहै दिवाना ॥१॥ Joban ḏẖan parabẖ▫ṯā kai maḏ mai ahinis rahai ḏivānā. ||1|| In the pride of youth, wealth and glory, day and night, he remains intoxicated. ||1|| ਦੀਨ ਦਇਆਲ ਸਦਾ ਦੁਖ ਭੰਜਨ ਤਾ ਸਿਉ ਮਨੁ ਨ ਲਗਾਨਾ ॥ दीन दइआल सदा दुख भंजन ता सिउ मनु न लगाना ॥ Ḏīn ḏa▫i▫āl saḏā ḏukẖ bẖanjan ṯā si▫o man na lagānā. God is merciful to the meek, and forever the Destroyer of pain, but the mortal does not center his mind on Him. 6) On your dining table and fridge ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕਛੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਉਪਜਿਓ ਪਸੁ ਜਿਉ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰਉ ॥ गुरमति सुनि कछु गिआनु न उपजिओ पसु जिउ उदरु भरउ ॥ Gurmaṯ sun kacẖẖ gi▫ān na upji▫o pas ji▫o uḏar bẖara▫o. I listened to the Guru's Teachings, but spiritual wisdom did not well up within me; like a beast, I fill my belly. ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਬਿਰਦੁ ਪਛਾਨਉ ਤਬ ਹਉ ਪਤਿਤ ਤਰਉ ॥ कहु नानक प्रभ बिरदु पछानउ तब हउ पतित तरउ ॥२॥४॥९॥९॥१३॥५८॥४॥९३॥ Kaho Nānak parabẖ biraḏ pacẖẖāna▫o ṯab ha▫o paṯiṯ ṯara▫ Says Nanak, O God, please confirm Your Law of Grace; for only then can I, the sinner, be saved 7)On your locker or safebox where you store your valuables ਜੋ ਸੰਪਤਿ ਅਪਨੀ ਕਰਿ ਮਾਨੀ ਛਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਭਈ ਪਰਾਈ ॥ जो स्मपति अपनी करि मानी छिन महि भई पराई ॥ Jo sampaṯ apnī kar mānī cẖẖin mėh bẖa▫ī parā▫ī. That wealth, which he believes to be his own, in an instant, belongs to another. ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਯਹ ਸੋਚ ਰਹੀ ਮਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਸੁ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਗਾਈ ॥੨॥੨॥ कहु नानक यह सोच रही मनि हरि जसु कबहू न गाई ॥२॥२॥ Kaho Nānak yėh socẖ rahī man har jas kabhū na gā▫ī. ||2||2|| Says Nanak, this still really bothers my mind - I never sang the Praises of the Lord. ||2||2|| 8) If you have pictures of guru sahib or other dieties in your home and you ask favors from it ਅੰਤਰਿ ਦੇਉ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ अंतरि देउ न जानै अंधु ॥ Anṯar ḏe▫o na jānai anḏẖ. The Divine Lord is within the self, but the spiritually blind one does not know this. ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕਾ ਮੋਹਿਆ ਪਾਵੈ ਫੰਧੁ ॥ भ्रम का मोहिआ पावै फंधु ॥ Bẖaram kā mohi▫ā pāvai fanḏẖ. Deluded by doubt, he is caught in the noose. ਨ ਪਾਥਰੁ ਬੋਲੈ ਨਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ न पाथरु बोलै ना किछु देइ ॥ Na pāthar bolai nā kicẖẖ ḏe▫e. The stone does not speak; it does not give anything to anyone. ਫੋਕਟ ਕਰਮ ਨਿਹਫਲ ਹੈ ਸੇਵ ॥੨॥ फोकट करम निहफल है सेव ॥२॥ Fokat karam nihfal hai sev. ||2|| Such religious rituals are useless; such service is fruitless. ||2|| 9) On the frame of your family picture ਭਾਈ ਰੇ ਮੈ ਮੀਤੁ ਸਖਾ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੋਇ ॥ भाई रे मै मीतु सखा प्रभु सोइ ॥ Bẖā▫ī re mai mīṯ sakẖā parabẖ so▫e. O Siblings of Destiny, God is my Friend and Companion. ਪੁਤੁ ਕਲਤੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਬਿਖੁ ਹੈ ਅੰਤਿ ਬੇਲੀ ਕੋਇ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ पुतु कलतु मोहु बिखु है अंति बेली कोइ न होइ ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥ Puṯ kalaṯ moh bikẖ hai anṯ belī ko▫e na ho▫e. ||1|| rahā▫o. Emotional attachment to children and spouse is poison; in the end, no one will go along with you as your helper. ||1||Pause|| 10) Home or lock screen of your phone and the TV( so you are not tempted to waste time on it) ਕਉਤਕ ਕੋਡ ਤਮਾਸਿਆ ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਆਵਸੁ ਨਾਉ ॥ कउतक कोड तमासिआ चिति न आवसु नाउ ॥ Ka▫uṯak kod ṯamāsi▫ā cẖiṯ na āvas nā▫o. In the midst of millions of games and entertainments, the Lord's Name does not come to their minds. ਨਾਨਕ ਕੋੜੀ ਨਰਕ ਬਰਾਬਰੇ ਉਜੜੁ ਸੋਈ ਥਾਉ ॥੨॥ नानक कोड़ी नरक बराबरे उजड़ु सोई थाउ ॥२॥ Nānak koṛī narak barābare ujaṛ so▫ī thā▫o. ||2|| O Nanak, their home is like a wilderness, in the depths of hell. ||2||
  7. If one wants to grow spiritually, as per SGGS the following are needed 1. Udam - effort for instance one can start waking up 30 minutes before one's usual time to do waheguru jap or breath meditation, also keep bringing the focus on naam simran throughout the day ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਾਪਣਾ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਧਨੁ ਖਾਟਿ ॥ Oudham Kar Har Jaapanaa Vaddabhaagee Dhhan Khaatt || Make the effort and chant the Lord's Name. O very fortunate ones earn this wealth. 2. Detachment from the worldly affairs - We are always engrossed in thoughts about wealth, seeking approval, improving the conditions of our own and family members, etc, however a clear understanding that these are not the goal of our life will help us keep our mind focused on naam. ਏਕ ਰੈਣ ਕੇ ਪਾਹੁਨ ਤੁਮ ਆਏ ਬਹੁ ਜੁਗ ਆਸ ਬਧਾਏ ॥ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਮੰਦਰ ਸੰਪੈ ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਜਿਉ ਤਰਵਰ ਕੀ ਛਾਏ ॥੧॥ Grih Mandhar Sanpai Jo Dheesai Jio Tharavar Kee Shhaaeae ||1|| Households, mansions and wealth - whatever is seen, is like the shade of a tree. 3. Rehat / Sheel - rehat is a word usually used only for amritdharis but in fact this should be applicable to anyone who claims to be a sikh - the real benefit of a life of virtue that one can go deeper into simran with much less wandering of the mind. At the minimum the following precepts should be observed (i) Earn only by honest means (haq paraya nanaka us sooar us gai ) , live simply and share with those in need.(ghal khaye kich hatho de nanak rah pachane soi) (ii) No sexual misconduct (not even rolling in thoughts of lust ) ( par treya roop na nekhai naitra) (iii) Right speech - no lying, slander, harsh or useless talk (such as about politics, movies, religion etc) (iv) No harm to other beings (ਦੂਖੁ ਨ ਦੇਈ ਕਿਸੈ ਜੀਅ ਪਤਿ ਸਿਉ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਵਉ ॥) (v) No use of intoxicants. Human life is extremely rare we must not lose track of the final goal of this precious gift. ਇਹੁ ਮਾਣਸ ਜਨਮੁ ਦੁਲੰਭੁ ਹੈ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਸਭੁ ਜਾਏ ॥
  8. What is gurmat - if we want to find the essence of this great philosophy , we should understand the message that guru nanak set out to preach in his udasis. He did not call for a certain look (hair ) or any rituals (like akhand path , chavar) , instead his message was simple - to merge with God we must develop the qualities of god i.e one must become nirbhao, nirvair, niralam (detached) Vin gun keete bhagat na hoi. Also he did not start a 'religion' and never advised anyone to convert from one organized religion to another. His message was universal and simple -to jogis, hindus, sidhs and Muslims - the gist of which was rather than focus on external symbols such as ashes on the body (as worn by yogis of the time ) or the clothe used by muslims for navaz called musala , one should train ones mind to embody the spirit of these symbols ਮਿਹਰ ਮਸੀਤਿ ਸਿਦਕੁ ਮੁਸਲਾ ਹਕੁ ਹਲਾਲੁ ਕੁਰਾਣੁ ॥ Mihar Maseeth Sidhak Musalaa Hak Halaal Kuraan || Let mercy be your mosque, faith your prayer-mat, and honest living your Koran. ਸਰਮ ਸੁੰਨਤਿ ਸੀਲੁ ਰੋਜਾ ਹੋਹੁ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ॥ Saram Sunnath Seel Rojaa Hohu Musalamaan || Make modesty your circumcision, and good conduct your fast. In this way, you shall be a true Muslim. ਕਰਣੀ ਕਾਬਾ ਸਚੁ ਪੀਰੁ ਕਲਮਾ ਕਰਮ ਨਿਵਾਜ ॥ Karanee Kaabaa Sach Peer Kalamaa Karam Nivaaj || Let good conduct be your Kaabaa, Truth your spiritual guide, and the karma of good deeds your prayer and chant. ਤਸਬੀ ਸਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਸੀ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਖੈ ਲਾਜ ॥੧॥ Thasabee Saa This Bhaavasee Naanak Rakhai Laaj ||1|| Let your rosary be that which is pleasing to His Will. O Nanak, God shall preserve your honor. ||1|| Sadly the way sikhis is practised today is very different from guruanank's mission , we emphasize empty recitation and external look rather than fighting with a mind which has enslaved us and causes nothing but suffering for ourselves and people around us .
  9. Daas has started a site with gurmat quotes - feel free to log in and provide feedback, feature suggestions etc. http://quotesdev.us-west-2.elasticbeanstalk.com Working on a smartphone app which will prompt users with a tuk every hour. Also coming raag music with shabad expalantions and networking with fellow minded gurmukhs. In phase 2 will make a chatbot where you can discuss your problems with the guru.
  10. If you are bothered by too many thoughts during meditation - do not be, its ok let thoughts be, the more you fight the more they will be ...so just observe them.The aim of mediation is not to be thought free but to be free of the reactions that they evoke in us - like anger, worry, excitement, stress etc.In time you will reach a state when you carry this thought awareness throughout the day and not just during the meditation period, giving you tremendous power over your runaway mind - you will have the power to rein in a negative thought such as animosity or worry which would have previously overpowered you and caused you to act in a hateful way or be stressed.
  11. Looking for tech savvy sevadars - I want to get an app developed in ionic or react native (that works on all major platforms), that would notify every 1 hour (or another interval configured by the user) with a gurbani quote and small blurb about how to incorporate the teaching in their day to day life. I do have the database of about 70 tuqs for now but will keep updating it regularly , the app will update its database from the central source every week or so. This way technology will help us stay constantly in touch with the guru and we will spend more of our breaths in a connected fashion.
  12. Why Forest Bathing Is Good for Your Health Though any kind of nature can enhance our health and happiness, there’s something special about being in a forest. By Karin Evans | August 20, 2018 Print Bookmark “Nature deficit disorder” is a modern affliction. With more people living in cities, working in high-rise office buildings, and becoming addicted to their innumerable electronic devices, many of us are indeed experiencing a nature deficit. This is true for children and adults alike. In his new book, Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, Japanese medical doctor and researcher Qing Li presents some sobering statistics: By 2050, according to the United Nations Population Division, three quarters of the world’s people will live in cities. Even now, the average American spends 93 percent of the time indoors, and some ten hours a day on social media—more than they spend asleep. The Kumano Kodo trail in Japan In Japan, there’s enough awareness about this deficit that Li heads up an organization called The Japanese Society of Forest Medicine, which promotes research on the therapeutic effects of forests on human health and educates people on the practice of forest bathing. His book—a companion to the center he runs—explores research on these benefits, while offering a number of techniques we can use to enhance them. “Some people study forests. Some people study medicine. I study forest medicine to find out all the ways in which walking in the forest can improve our well-being,” writes Li. The history of forest bathing Japan is a country that is both urbanized and heavily forested. Trees cover two-thirds of the island’s landmass, and yet a majority of Japan’s people live in crowded city conditions. Li himself lives in Tokyo, a city he describes as “the most crowded city in the world.” Perhaps that’s why the art of “forest bathing”—shinrin-yoku—began there. Forest bathing involves slowly walking through a forest, taking in the atmosphere through all your senses, and enjoying the benefits that come from such an excursion. In 1982, Japan launched a national program to encourage forest bathing, and in 2004, a formal study of the link between forests and human health began in Iiyama, Japan—a place particularly known for its lush, green forests. Now, each year upwards of 2.5 million people walk those forest trails as a way to ease stress and enhance health. Li’s interest in forest research began when he was a stressed-out medical student. He went away for a week of forest camping, and found it restored his physical and emotional health. That inspired him to begin researching the benefits of forests on human health and well-being. In 2004, he helped found the Forest Therapy Study Group, aimed at finding out why being among trees makes us feel so much better. The healing power of the forest After years of careful study, Li has found that spending time in a forest can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and anger; strengthen the immune system; improve cardiovascular and metabolic health; and boost overall well-being. “Wherever there are trees, we are healthier and happier,” writes Li. And, he adds, it isn’t about exercising—like hiking or jogging—it’s simply about being in nature. Why would this be? It’s long been recognized that humans have a biological need to connect with nature. Some 20 years ago, American biologist E. O. Wilson noted that humans are “hardwired” to connect with the natural world, and that being in nature had a profoundly positive effect on human health. Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness (Viking, 2018, 320 pages) Li’s research seems to corroborate this. For example, one of his studies looked at whether forest bathing could improve sleep patterns among middle-aged Tokyo office workers who tended to suffer sleep deficiency due to high levels of stress. During the study, participants walked the same amount of time in a forest that they usually did in a non-forest setting on a normal working day. After a walk in the forest, participants were significantly less anxious, slept better, and slept longer. In addition, researchers found that afternoon walks were even more beneficial than morning walks. “You sleep better when you spend time in a forest, even when you don’t increase the amount of physical activity you do,” reported Li. To further assess the effects of time spent in a forest, Li measured people’s moods before and after walking in the woods or in an urban environment. While other studies have shown that walking anywhere outdoors reduces depression, anxiety, and anger, Li found that only the experience of walking in a forest improved people’s vigor and reduced fatigue. The health secrets of trees seem to lie in two things—the higher concentration of oxygen that exists in a forest, as compared to an urban setting, and the presence of plant chemicals called phytoncides—natural oils that are part of a plant’s defense system against bacteria, insects, and fungi. Exposure to these substances, says Li, can have measurable health benefits for humans. Physiological stress is reduced, for example, and both blood pressure and heart rate are lowered. Evergreens—pine, cedar, spruce, and conifers—are the largest producers of phytoncides, so walking in an evergreen forest seems to have the greatest health benefits. How to do forest bathing So, is there a specific art to forest bathing? Or is it just as easy as a walk in the woods? Connecting with nature is simple, writes Li. “All we have to do is accept the invitation. Mother Nature does the rest.” Here are some of his suggested steps. Find a spot. Depending where you are, find a good source of nature. One doesn’t need to journey deep into a forest for these benefits. Just look for any green area. It could be an urban park, a nature preserve, or a trail through suburban woods. Forests with conifers are thought to be particularly beneficial. “Let your body be your guide. Listen to where it wants to take you,” Li says. Some people will respond to sunny glades, others to shadier places. Listen to your own wisdom. For people who don’t have access to a forest, or can’t get outside for some reason, infusing essential tree oils in your home can provide benefits, too. Engage all your senses. “Let nature enter through your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands, and feet,” says Li. Actively listen, smell, touch, and look. “Drink in the flavor of the forest and release your sense of joy and calm.” Don’t hurry. Slow walking is recommended for beginners. And it’s good to spend as much time as possible. You’ll notice positive effects after twenty minutes, says Li, but a longer visit, ideally four hours, is better. Try different activities. Try doing yoga in the woods, or Tai chi, or meditation. Take a picnic. Write a poem. Study plants. You can venture alone, or with a companion. In Japan, forest walking therapists are even available. Appreciate the silence. One of the downsides of urban living is the constant noise. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a wooded area that’s free from human-produced sound. Silence is restorative, and a forest can have its own healing sound—rustling leaves, a trickle of water, birdsong. Spend a few quiet moments with a favorite tree. If nothing else, when we connect with nature we are reminded that we are part of a larger whole. And that, Li notes, can lead us to be less selfish and to think more of others. Li’s book, which includes illustrations and a map of “40 Beautiful Forests Across the World,” is an invitation and an inspiration to take a walk in the woods, wherever you are. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_forest_bathing_is_good_for_your_health?utm_medium=email&utm_source=other&utm_campaign=opencourse.es3OSXqhEea1Vw7ENWFEPw.announcements~opencourse.es3OSXqhEea1Vw7ENWFEPw.NyzGa6cwEeiD2QqOJunOiA
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