Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meditating in nature

As you may already have noticed, the natural world has an unparalleled capacity to relax your body and calm your mind. When you’re sitting by the ocean listening to the surf or hiking in the mountains among the rocks and trees, you don’t have to practice some formal meditation technique — just open your senses and let nature work its magic. Without any effort on your part, you begin to feel your mind settle down, your worries dissipate, your breathing deepen and slow, your tension melt away, and your heart fill with gratitude and love.
As a species, we evolved in the natural world, and the plants and animals have been teaching us how to meditate for as long as we’ve had legs to cross. When you meditate in nature, you’ve arrived where you belong, and the ease and familiarity you feel there invites you to return home to yourself, to your innermost “nature.” (How fascinating and appropriate that the words are the same!) Entering a natural setting can stop your mind in its tracks, causing you to sense the presence of something deeper and more meaningful.
Make it a point to meditate in nature as often as you can, and take note of the state of mind and heart that it evokes. Even if you live in the inner city, you can usually find some park or garden or small patch of woods or water. Then, when you meditate at home again, you can invoke the resonance of your moments in nature to help you deepen your practice.

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