Have you ever walked along an undisturbed beach after the tide has gone out, admired the intricacies of a passion flower or looked closely at a wild bees’ nest? Nature is the greatest artist and there are so many synchronicities and similarities in the patterns, rhythms and geometry. The rings of a tree are their individual ‘thumbprint”, both unique and similar to the human fingerprint. The structure of root systems and human cardiovascular and pulmonary systems don’t just look alike but also carry out similar functions.
I have always been fascinated by Nature’s patterns, cycles and rhythms. As someone who really disliked maths in school (and still does ;-)) the regularity and significance of numbers in the natural world are mesmerising.
“The universe cannot be read until we have learned the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and the letters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without which means it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word.”Galileo Galilei
As we humans are a part of Nature, I believe that we seek and need these structures to feel safe, regulated and part of the “whole”. Subconsciously we look for patterns in our environment all the time and they are everywhere in Nature. We are deeply affected, guided and nurtured by them and they are imprinted in our DNA. When we spend extended time in environments disconnected from Nature, it can lead to stress and other mental health issues and even illness in the long term.
Why humans are drawn to Nature’s patterns:
Recognising patterns is an important way of learning and decision-making, and it allows us to predict what is coming. The process of pattern recognition, also called probabilistic learning, involves matching new information with information already stored in our brain and making the connection between memory and perception.
We often don’t realise how much we are integrated into Nature’s patterns but when we really pay attention, it’s astonishing how interconnected and omnipresent these structures are within and around us.
Here are some examples:
- 12 months of the year, 12 full moons
- 4 seasons
- Night and Day
- Women’s menstrual cycles
- Life cycle: birth, life, death
- Sound and light frequencies
- Heart rhythm
- The human desire for music and rhythm apparent in traditions thousands of years old
- Regular patterns, shapes and forms in Nature (flowers, minerals, fur, feathers, crystals, shells etc.)
- And so many more examples.
This week I received an old copy of the German 100-year calendar based on the weather observations of Abbott Mauritius Knauer from 1652 to 1658. Originally this was an attempt to predict the weather in order to optimise the monastery’s farming and was founded on the influence of the then known 7 “planets” Sun, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury and other regular natural occurrences such as the moon phases. Since its origin the 100-year calendar has been added to and rewritten. It contains many bits of Nature’s wisdom and of course, much of it is anecdotal.
Even though this piece of German history and tradition can’t be taken at complete face value, it’s fascinating to read about the interrelations between Nature’s patterns and how we are influenced every second of our lives by them.
We can’t take ourselves out of the interplay of Nature’s rhythms, and cycles, we are a firm part of them. Both our physical and mental health rely on us recognising our relationship with the natural world.
As the wonderful Rachel Carson said:
“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of Nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
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