A: Well really the question isn’t the role that nature plays in your journey, but how you perceive nature based on your frame of reference. So for instance, right now it’s snowing outside slightly, and it’s very beautiful. It’s beautiful how the snow covers the trees, the ground and it brings light and illumination to everything. Seeing it another way however, you could see it as cold, nasty, slippery and dangerous, something impeding your work, the list could go on and on. The ego has endless problems that it can project onto anything. That being said, when you go out in nature, you tend to put some distance between your higher Self and lower self. It makes you realize that there’s more than just your personal thinkings and problems and that the world and universe is much more expansive. When you see beauty in nature it reflects to you something outside of your ego that is not of your creation, that is just there, and that is the reason why it feels good, relaxing, and more like home. A good practice would be to get out in nature and look around for about an hour a day. It really helps to expand consciousness. Also, when we observe nature, it tends to slow down our brain waves and brings us out of the highly stressful high beta waves down into alpha waves. This not only reduces stress, but it also tends to lower blood pressure and help us observe the self (“little s self”). Therefore, strenthening our awareness of the Self (“Big S Self”). That is why you feel so much better when you go for long walks. Conversely, then your ego takes it and thinks that longer is better and wants to do it all the time. However, it’s all about balance. The key isn’t just to become identified with the higher Self but to be aware of the small self and the big Self at the same time and have them come into a union. The ego is an expert at creating either/or situations. This is how on the Journey to Enlightenment, one of the first steps is the development of the spiritual ego. Knowledge of this will result in recognition of the spiritual ego versus true spirituality and help you realize that you are neither the big Self nor the small self but a union of the two.