A Ray of Hope – The Caring Nature

Swami Prembhava Saraswati

Plant seeds of happiness, kindness and friendship; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of Nature.

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Swami Niranjan says that within all of us there is a very special quality – samrakshan, the caring nature. Sam means ‘complete’, and rakshan means ‘to protect and preserve’. It is this innate nature that takes us out of our self-centered ego and puts the comfort and happiness of others first. This soft quality is also known as the maternal instinct or motherly nature. It is a quality most often found in mothers of nearly every species on earth. It is this quality that allows an untrained female to know exactly how to give birth, hold, protect, feed and nurture her young. It is this instinct that gives strength and courage to protect the young and loved ones against all possible threats. A mother will starve herself to ensure her child has food.

Professionals such as nurses, paramedics, gardeners, school teachers, national park rangers, environmentalists, old age carers and many more have developed their caring nature and express it daily through their work. It exists within us all and can be encouraged and expressed by one and all.

According to science, the maternal instinct is a response to the release of oxytocin which creates a feeling of love, care, bonding and connection to one’s family and friends. Oxytocin is released in the mother’s body during pregnancy; it assists with childbirth, breast feeding and encourages the connection and care between mother and child.

This release of oxytocin takes place when we are connecting or interacting with other people, sharing, feeling cared for, during sexual intercourse and orgasm, as well as through positive experiences of the senses, such as taste, touch, sound, sight and smell. Oxytocin is a feel-good hormone and is released when our external situations are positive, loving and caring. The more we love and care the more oxytocin is released. It is therefore possible to increase the quantity of oxytocin in our bodies by being more caring which, in turn, increases the strength of our caring nature. Swami Sivananda always said that the more we care and give to others the more we receive.

For it is in giving that we receive.

St Francis of Assisi

The essence of Mother Nature is the maternal or caring nature. She has provided everything needed for life and the health of all species. Nature cares and gives selflessly to one and all, like a tree which provides fruit, shelter, shade and oxygen to any creature which comes her way.

Biophilia, a term coined by biologist E.O. Wilson, is the innate affinity of humans towards nature and other forms of life. Biophilia is our love of life and nature. It is a part of our genetic design. We need to live with and care for nature and other life-forms to be happy and healthy. Many households around the world have pet dogs, cats, birds and fish. These creatures are loved and cared for like other family members, and it has always been that way for the human race. We need this connection to other life-forms for happiness. Think of the love and care that animals have shown in helping people lift themselves out of loneliness and depression. It has been found that dogs in retirement homes and hospitals bring joy and calmness to patients. People find just to pet and touch a friendly dog can lift their mood and bring happiness.

We are made of this caring nature and it sustains us. It exists with in us all in different degrees and can be encouraged and extended to all areas of life. The more we give and care for others, the more we receive, the happier, stronger and more content we become. This has been the teachings of spiritual teachers, saints and sages of all times.

It is this nature that is the need of today and could provide solutions to many of the problems we face as a species, society and civilization. It provides hope for the future of our civilization. The caring nature has the power to pull the human race out of the self-centred greed-based civilization that is causing so much destruction, and make it a civilization that can care for, protect and nurture our environment for future generations.

Sanyam of caring

The caring instinct can be enhanced in simple ways in daily life through a caring awareness of ourselves, our surroundings and people. We must first care for ourselves through a healthy diet, routine and lifestyle, then we can extend our care outwards to the environment and people around us. This will improve our own life and increase happiness and joy through simple acts of kindness. For example:

  • Learn to care for your own body and mind through the yogic practices of asana, pranayama, yoga nidra, mantra japa and a natural yogic diet.
  • Care for your family, share time together, come together at dinner time and share life’s adventures and stories.
  • Having a dog or cat around will help to express the caring nature and you will receive so much love and affection in return.
  • A garden helps you connect with nature and with other species, such as plants, trees, insects and birds. Caring for a garden awakens our love and respect for nature. Even a small pot plant in the kitchen can awaken this caring nature.
  • If you see some rubbish when walking down the street, pick it up and throw it in the dustbin just as you would in your own house or garden.
  • Assist strangers, the elderly and people in need just as you would a family member.
  • Whenever you feel depressed or lonely, take yourself out of the self-centred awareness by helping and caring for others.
  • Karma and seva yoga encourages our caring nature. When we do action with the awareness of service we offer our help and abilities to the yogic mission.
  • Practise Ashwattha Aradhana daily. Fully connect and care for the tree, nourish it with compost and nutrients, trim and clean the old leaves and branches, water it daily. Learn about the species of tree. What country does it originally come from? What is its natural habitat and environment? What other species live with this tree? How much sunshine does it need? How much water does it need? What soil does it like? Observe everything about the tree and learn to communicate with the tree.

Learn to give, give in plenty, give with love, give without any expectation, one does not lose anything by giving, on the other hand you get back a thousand fold.

Swami Sivananda Saraswati

The caring instinct can be used as the tool to shift us into a new beginning, a new identification and a new civilization based on love, connection and care. It is up to each one of us to establish ourselves within this caring awareness and within nature. We must begin now.

Published in Janani – Holistic Yogic Lifestyle