Pura Vida/Veriditas

Jul. 25, 2018

I just returned from Costa Rica for my yearly study abroad there in the interior of the country. I am always surprised by how well I feel when I am down there. My allergies don’t bother me, I sleep soundly and I am full of jubilant energy. I wonder if it has something to do with the abundance of life- both flora and fauna and the vitality that imparts. The people I come in contact with seem to be so happy and joyous, kind, compassionate and also humble. I guess that would be the case with the people of a country whose moto is Pura Vida- the pure life. The term is used by the Costa Ricans similarly to way Aloha is used in Hawaii to mean hello, good bye, atta boy, let’s celebrate, yahoo!

Always my first morning there I wake with the sun around 5:30 and I can hear the sounds of the rainforest, the chatter of the toucans, the little tick tick noises the hummingbirds make, the howler monkeys way off in the distance and the bugs of course. Water is always flowing down from the mountains. Although the humidity is high, the air doesn’t feel heavy as it does at home, it fills me with vitality. I drink it all in as the staff is arriving up the hill greeting me with a sincere and heart-felt Buenos Dias. Then into the chow hall for some café con leche and fresh fruit for breakfast.

I wondered if all that life energy, all that fresh moist oxygen created by the young trees (most rainforest trees have a shorter life cycle than mid-latitude trees), impacts me physically, emotionally and spiritually. I feel so joyous just to be there. I found a term that I think describes that feeling, Veriditas.   

Veriditas (pronounced: ver ID ee tas) describes nature’s divine healing power, transferred from plants to humans. Hildegard created the word Veriditas to mark the moment that God heals one thru a living plant – or the “greening” power of plant medicine. The moment the plant enters and heals you is the moment of “Veriditas”! It symbolizes spiritual and physical health.  

The science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson used it to mean "the green force of life, expanding into the Universe." It is “a holy greening power we call Veriditas, and it is the driving force in the cosmos. Life, you see.”

To me, Veriditas associates with the Gaia hypothesis. It reflects an aesthetic unity- patterns that connect. Recognition and empathy, a sense of kindredness. Losing the boundary between self and non-self in communion with nature. A true sense of belonging and Agape, divine love in a sublime sense.  

Words just don’t fully express my experience, my joy, my exuberance, my love of this beautiful place and people. All I can say is PURA VIDA! Can’t wait for next year and my return to paradise.