My Facebook friends have been sharing photos lately of beautiful winter wonderlands – snow-filled yards and evergreen trees bending under the weight of snow-covered branches. Several pictures show families enjoying this fresh snowfall in various outdoor activities. I fondly recall a childhood spent enjoying such activities with my brothers in the snowy north of Canada.
Some people have suggested that being outdoors is a way to combat stress or depression in our lives. But many of us live or work where experiencing the great outdoors is limited.
I do agree that the beauty of nature can feel like a balm to such feelings, but I’ve come to learn that genuine healing power doesn’t come from timberlands or trail walks. It comes from Spirit, God, the only creator, who created everything after Himself spiritually. Created in God, then, we each have the natural ability to discern the beauty and grandeur of an existence that is spiritual.
Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy wrote about the spiritual qualities nature represents in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Spiritually interpreted, rocks and mountains stand for solid and grand ideas” (p. 511).
These ideas aren’t interpreted through our physical senses, however, but through our innate spiritual sense. Speaking of this when he preached Christ Jesus’ teachings, the Apostle Paul said: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Corinthians 2:9, 10).
It was searching for “the deep things of God” that brought healing for my friend who had been suffering from deep depression after the birth of her second child. When she turned to the Bible, this beautiful psalm gave her promise: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help” (Psalms 121:1).
She reasoned that it wasn’t actual physical hills she needed to look up to for help; rather, she had to lift her thinking to a higher, more permanent sense of God as Spirit, and that she was unconditionally loved and cherished by divine Love. In her study of Christian Science, she understood her true self, as stated in Genesis 1, as the beloved creation of a loving God. As such, she could not be separated from God or His love; He was ever present and caring for her.
As she began to realize this, the depressive feelings faded away. She told me that she felt completely embraced by this divine Love and experienced a feeling of being mentally lifted up – like reaching the top of a hill, where the view is clear and inspiring. She tells me she never experienced depression again, including after the birth of another child.
As a sunrise reveals the beauty of a new day, the spiritual awakening to God’s love for us – for all of His children – dawns in consciousness to banish dark thoughts of depression. We can tangibly feel valued and loved through an understanding of our permanent relation to God. Recognizing God as the source of divine inspiration and love, we can experience comfort, care, and healing any time of year, whether we’re indoors or out.
This article was adapted from the author’s blog.