Dr.Adel Abu-Assi

This month Green Angel flew over Lebanon, a small country with a rather unique personality. Looking from above, the closest distance to the sky are the rugged mountains of El- Chouf and the magnificent cedar forests. Some of these trees are estimated to be more than 2,000 years old and represent one of the few remaining natural landscapes of Mount Lebanon that were described in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Old Testament as well as in countless documents throughout history. From these cedars the wood crossed the seas and brought to Jerusalem by King Solomon to build his glorious temple. From the summit, the distance holds a panoramic view of the countryside. More beauty unfolds as the Green Angel zooms into the small villages that surround the high mountains. Coming closer Green Angel’s attention is caught by a loving vibration that is diffused throughout a very humble farm surrounded by a variety of trees, colouring the scene with autumn hues. 

The soul of this farm is Dr. Adel, who chooses to live simply with nature.

Panoramic view of the farm

Dr. Adel, more and more we see individuals with various backgrounds turning their interest towards a more natural way of living. In your case, what was the main factor that contributed to the development of this interest?
The main factor in my case was my occupation as a medical doctor. As a pediatrician I first think of preventive medicine before thinking of curative medicine. Starting from myself I chose this road as the main, true way to good health. After experiencing good health with this kind of lifestyle, I started propagating it to my patients and their families.

Could you tell us what is involved this organic farming you are doing?
It involves growing fruit trees, all kinds of varieties that grow in this area and growing them with no fertilizers at all.

The fruit of the sumac tree,
famous as a spice

What do you experience when you get involved in these activities?
Every weekend I come here. It is a 180 degrees turn from being a doctor, helping people and waking up at night and standing by for every emergency case. It’s a big change to come here after that and be in calm and quiet nature. Furthermore, I believe in the productive activity that once Mahatma Gandhi spoke about that promotes a good health. That is the physical exercise you do in the field, whilst producing some kind of vegetables and fruits.

Autumn hues

Which value do you think is most important for you to live a life that is in harmony with nature?
In order to live in harmony with everything and not only nature, you need to have love in your heart, to be full of love and have no place there for anything else. Nature gives you all the good things.
It doesn’t make you feel sad or frustrated. So, I choose to live in harmony with everybody and everything, even with those who may cause trouble to me. I value this trouble as a motivator for me to have more love, forgiveness and acceptance of the other.

The farm is surrounded by
a variety of apple, walnut,
pomegranate, sumac, lotus
& quince trees

From your experience as a doctor, in which way is our inner environment, our physical body and the outer environment connected with each other?
The inner and outer environment are very much interrelated and connected to each other. The first thing to do in order to treat somebody is to make him feel more relaxed in his mind before prescribing any medicine for his sore throat or his ear infection or pneumonia. By helping the person become more relaxed and balanced from the inside, that automatically increases his immunity system. The more balanced you are from the inside the more immunity you have to all kinds of diseases. Being balanced inside is also related to how much love you have inside for others and being free from hatred, greed and all other negativities.

What should be our relationship with nature in order to lead a more healthy life?
First of all nature never takes revenge. You may neglect some kind of tree or plant and come back after years and this tree will never hate you because you ignored or neglected it, so nature is very forgiving. We have to learn first of all from nature how to forgive others.
Cedar trees, considered to be
more than 2,000 years old are seen 

in El-Chouf Nature Reserve

And nature also needs from you to be very sensitive and kind to her. They call her Mother Nature, so as much as you love your mother you have to love nature as well. Nature is now getting polluted and contaminated and there are many transgressions against nature. We should avoid doing any bad actions towards nature, starting from minimizing the use of fertilizers and pesticides, cutting down trees and any other harmful acts towards nature because this will return back to us. I am a vegetarian for the last 36 years and that helped me maintain good health and a healthy way of living in nature. 

How did you decide to become a vegetarian?
That occurred after reading the Vedic literature and after hearing some lectures on different yoga philosophies back in the 70s, at the time I was staying in the United States. I was convinced that what they say is really right and the right way to live. So when I felt it as the truth I said why not try it! Then, when I started to become a vegetarian, my colleague doctors said that I was not going to make it, that I would have anemia and vitamin deficiencies. So they started betting on me. After six months I took a blood test and it was all normal, after one year I took another blood test and was again all normal and kept going on and in time they all lost the bet! I feel very healthy and pleased with myself and this gives me satisfaction; the kind of satisfaction that doesn’t come from being richer, having more buildings, better cars, more fun, this and that…

As a pediatrician do you encourage parents to promote a vegetarian diet for their children?
Definitely yes! I even insist upon taking their children to nature and teach them how to plant, how to grow fruits and vegetables before going to learn about TV and internet, computer games and all that junk. To teach them how to make a small garden in front of their house. This is actually working and people start getting more used to helping their parents with gardening. More and more people are starting to go back to a more healthy type of food, organically grown food and vegetarian food.

GreenAngel's smile as bidding farewell
to the high mountains...

As humans, which part of ourselves do you think we have lost that made us distance ourselves from nature?
We started looking for happiness in the wrong way. Where to seek happiness? First of all we need to go inside to seek happiness. Once you go within you find out that your closest friend is nature and you should not keep any distance from her.

Dr.Adel Abu-Assi was interviewed by Vasia Pelegrati