Bütschi, G. (2021). Being in nature: A heuristic inquiry [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Middlesex University.

The aim of this study is to explore individuals living experiences in nature using Moustakas’ qualitative method of Heuristic inquiry. One-on-one interviews were conducted with six co-researchers between the ages of 29–59, lasting between 75–105 minutes, from which several shared themes emerged. Co-researchers revealed how personal difficulties in their lives gave rise to a desire to go into nature to find healing. Nature was deemed to be non-judgemental and provide space for feelings to surface, be acknowledged and integrated, creating the possibility for healing and spiritual growth. Nature was perceived as healer and teacher, providing the opportunity to discover a sense of oneness and connection with nature and the self. This also promoted some degree of altruism and an increase in the intrinsic aspirations of the co-researchers. There is a consensus regarding the limitation of language in verbalising nature and the transformational experience. Understanding the dichotomy of human and nature as separate appears to be a key step in the journey, resulting in the realisation of our commonality and connection. Results indicate that human-nature connection is intrinsic in human beings and this research illustrates the potential psychological, physiological, physical, and spiritual benefits to our wellbeing.

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